Calls made to the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office were not returned Thursday.
The joggers were reportedly addicted to methamphetamine and stealing mail to support their habits, Lorenz said.
Methamphetamine users, Lorenz said, are often responsible for committing mail thefts.
Since June, at least five residents have reported stolen mail to police and were able to provide descriptions of suspects and vehicles, he said.
Kim was released from custody in January after being arrested on suspicion of mail theft, Lorenz said.
But it wasn’t until Financial Crimes Unit detectives began looking into Kim’s connections that the larger mail theft network was discovered. Two other men, including the alleged ringleader, were arrested in Los Angeles.
When detectives put Kim, Araza and Austria under surveillance, they saw the group jogging and stealing mail in Eagle Rock, Lorenz said.
Police, along with the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office and Los Angeles County Probation Department, then obtained warrants and found stolen mail, washed checks and the mailbox keys at their homes, Lorenz said.
The U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office reported more than 6,000 mail theft suspects last year. Portions of California and Texas, along with Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., experience the highest amount of mail theft, according to the agency.
Mail theft carries a maximum five years in prison for every letter stolen, the agency’s spokeswoman Renee Focht said.
The agency will present the case to the U.S. attorney’s office for prosecution, she said.
Anyone who believes they were a mail-theft victim can call (877) 876-2455, or submit a report at www. postalinspectors.uspis.gov.