A husband and wife were arrested in the 29700 block of North Lower Valley Road in Bear Valley Springs yesterday after two independent investigations led police to the home of Joseph and Jeanie Nelson.
According to a news release issued by the Bear Valley Springs Police Department, Jeanie Nelson was arrested on Thursday, Jan. 16, and charged with 14 counts of stolen property, 14 counts of theft, and 5 counts of mail theft.
Walthers said that after a lengthy investigation, evidence linked Jeanie Nelson, 43, to multiple mail thefts in the area. Subsequent to her arrest, police issued a search warrant at her home and discovered DVDs, toys, tablets, and other items.
She was booked into the Kern County Sheriff's Central Receiving Facility on $173,500 bail.
“Through lengthy surveillance on the community's mailbox stations, the police department developed enough probable cause to move further into an investigation of this individual,” Walthers said.
Police Chief Rod Walthers said the police department has spearheaded efforts to combat the ongoing problem of mail thefts in the area ― which rose significantly during the holidays ― by working in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Police officer Brad Ritchie reported at the Bear Valley Springs Community Services District last board meeting that a total of 56 mail thefts were reported to the police department in December alone.
Mailboxes in Bear Valley are clumped together in mail stations that are spread throughout the community and do not have locks, which makes it easy for potential thefts.
Joseph Nelson, 40, was arrested on a separate arrest warrant issued the same day.
Joseph Nelson was arrested on charges including possession of short-barreled rifle, possession of any assault weapon and possession of large-capacity magazines.
According to Chief Walthers, the weapons were confiscated earlier in the month after Nelson had been arrested on Jan. 4 for spousal battery.
Walthers said the Department of Justice was notified to examine the weapons and later determined they were illegal.
The Chief did note that there was not enough evidence to link Joseph Nelson's to the mail thefts committed by his wife.
He was booked into the Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield and is being held on $50,000 bail.