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.
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.
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.