Woman arrested in package thefts in East County - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Woman arrested in package thefts in East County

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A parolee was back behind bars Wednesday for allegedly stealing mailed packages from the front yards of East County homes.

Martha A. Lampley, 37, was arrested over the weekend in connection with the thefts, which occurred over a roughly weeklong period in late November in Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and unincorporated areas near El Cajon, sheriff's officials said. Total losses were estimated at about $1,000.

Home surveillance video provided by one of the victims led to Lampley's arrest, according to investigators, who tracked down some of the stolen mail in a rented storage unit. According to authorities, Lampley rented a U-Haul truck to drive around and pick up packages.

"We conducted searches of her residence and storage unit and recovered stolen property from numerous mail thefts, and some commercial and other residential burglaries," San Diego County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Greg Hampton said.

Lampley was booked into Las Colinas women's jail in Santee on suspicion of burglary, possession of illegal drugs and narcotics paraphernalia, and violating terms of her parole.

One of the victims, Shave Dass, ordered a gardening set for his wife.

"We didn't know things were missing. We got a visit from the El Cajon police on Saturday asking if we were missing some property," he said.

Authorities advised people to avoid falling victim to such thefts by:

-- choosing shipping options allowing them to sign for deliveries, and asking friends and relatives sending packages to do the same;

-- tracking the delivery status of packages;

-- having packages shipped to the workplace instead of an unoccupied home;

-- leaving special instructions on where to deliver packages, such as behind bushes or on a patio not visible from the street;

-- picking up deliveries from post offices;

-- insuring packages; and

-- reporting suspicious people, vehicles and neighborhood activity to law enforcement.

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