Man, Woman Accused of Fishing Mail Out of Santa Ana Collection Box With Leash, Sticky Rat Trap

Officials have long warned people about porch pirates who steal packages from victims' front doors, but Santa Ana police arrested a man and woman Thursday who they say went straight to a blue USPS collection box to fish out mail.

A Santa Ana parking control officer said she saw a man, identified by police as Jose Jimenez, 39, pulling mail out of a collection box near Main Street and Washington Avenue around noon on Thursday. He was using a red dog leash with a sticky rat trap attached to the end of it to fish out the mail, the Santa Ana Police Department said in news release.

Jimenez then ran to a pickup truck with a driver waiting at the wheel, who police identified as Renee Paredes, 49, officials said.

A theft tool a man allegedly used to fish mail out of a collection box is shown in this photo released by the Santa Ana Police Department on Dec. 21, 2018.

A theft tool a man allegedly used to fish mail out of a collection box is shown in this photo released by the Santa Ana Police Department on Dec. 21, 2018.

When the two drove away, the parking control officer kept police updated on the suspects' location, officials said. Officers found them and arrested them both for possession of fishing tools and stolen U.S. mail.

Paredes initially provided false information to police, who soon determined her true identity and found out she had outstanding warrants, police said.

Jimenez and Paredes bought the supplies to make the fishing tool at the 99 Cents Only Store around the corner, according to officials.

Police said they believe the two were planning to steal from more collection boxes afterward. They were booked at the Santa Ana Jail.

Jimenez's bail was set at $20,000 pending his first court appearance, while Paredes's bail was set at $430,000, according to Orange County booking records. Both were scheduled for arraignment on Monday.

Police advised people who are sending mail with valuable gift cards or money to drop them off directly at the post office.