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2 men arrested in suspected mail theft

2 men arrested in suspected mail theft
Resident reported pilfering of mailboxes

PORTOLA VALLEY — The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office on Thursday released the names of two men suspected of pilfering mailboxes in the Ladera area near Portola Valley.

Deputies arrested Drake Henry of Oakland and James Thomas of Vallejo, both 27, on Wednesday after a resident reported seeing two men stealing mail in the La Mesa Drive and Conil Way area, said Sgt. Linda Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.


A deputy detained Henry during a car stop near the Shell gas station at La Mesa and Alpine Road, but Thomas bolted from the vehicle and managed to elude authorities for roughly 31/2hours, Gibbons said. A subsequent manhunt involved units from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, an aircraft and a police dog, because deputies weren't sure whether Thomas had a weapon.


A passer-by ultimately spotted Thomas, who was unarmed, in a field south of Alpine and west of Interstate 280. Authorities slowed freeway traffic to a crawl as deputies worked to coax the man out of a culvert beneath the interstate.


Gibbons said Henry was booked into San Mateo County jail on suspicion of parole violation and providing false identification, while Thomas was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property, resisting arrest and violating his parole. Mail stolen from two Ladera residences was recovered near a barbed-wire fence Thomas jumped when he made his getaway, she said.


Both men are scheduled to be arraigned today , Gibbons said.


While mail theft is not a common crime in the Ladera area, Gibbons seized the opportunity to warn against leaving outgoing mail in unlocked residential mailboxes.

"It just leaves you ripe for being an identity theft victim," she said, adding that a post office is a safer place to deposit mail.