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South Bay Residents Who Helped in Capture of Mail Thief Still Waiting on Reward Money

Some San Jose residents were instrumental in helping in the capture of a thief who broke into a mail truck in 2020, but they say they’re still waiting for the postal service to deliver their reward money.

Whenever there is a mail theft, the United States postal inspector immediately promotes a $10,000 reward for the capture of the thief. The residents say they put in the work to receive the reward, but the money hasn’t been handed over.

“We filed the paperwork,” Issa Ajlouny said. “We feel we’ve been getting the runaround, saying we don’t have a name and number for you to contact, just fill in this form. It basically goes into a black hole.”

Camera footage capturing the theft showed 32-year-old Mathew Lara diving into a mail truck near Santa Teresa Golf Club and taking off with mail.

“Shocking, concerning, scary that that happened actually in front of my own house,” Maria Drinkhouse said.

It happened in a community that’s saturated with a series of cameras from a group called Safer San Jose.

“Actually caught the license plate, plus it saw the car following the postal service truck,” Ajlouny said.

The residents turned in the footage to police and the postal inspector, who immediately offered the reward. Days later, police arrested Lara.

In March, he pled guilty to second degree burglary and acquiring personal identification with the intent to defraud. He was sentenced to nine months in county jail.

NBC Bay Area contacted the postal inspector Tuesday morning and was told they would look into the matter and call back.

“When you promise something and then they make you sign a document, you need to follow through and don’t leave us hanging here for more than two years,” Drinkhouse said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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