Kings sheriffs team with county agencies to nab suspect in check stealing case

By The Leader Staff
Suspect Felipe Gonzalez Alvarez
Suspect Felipe Gonzalez Alvarez
Photo Courtesy Kings County Sheriff

Working in tandem with several law enforcement agencies, the Kings County Sheriff’s Department identified a suspect in a long-standing mail theft case.

It was in June that three local businesses made separate mail theft reports with the department.

When deputies took a closer look at the cases, they noticed each victim had mailed out business checks to various vendors by placing them in the outside drive-up postal bin at the Hanford Post Office. At some point, the checks were stolen, altered, and then cashed at different stores around Kings, Tulare, Kern and Fresno Counties.

The Kings County Rural Crimes Taskforce began investigating these three cases and found surveillance of two suspects cashing and attempting to cash the stolen checks. The suspects were using stolen or altered driver’s licenses. 

After reaching out to neighboring law enforcement agencies, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office provided helpful information. Although it could not positively identify either suspect at that time, officers told the Kings County Rural Crimes investigators the primary suspect in their cases was a suspect in multiple cases (approx. 17) up and down the state of California.

These agencies included the SLO County Sheriff's Office, Pismo Police Department, Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office, Santa Clara PD, Kings County Sheriff's Office, Santa Barbara PD and the USPS Postal Inspector's Office in San Jose. 

Each agency began networking to determine the identity of the suspect. A break in the case came in early September when forensic evidence positively identified a suspect – Felipe Alvarez. He was arrested on Sept. 22 in Livingston, Calif. Alvarez has a history of fraud and in the Merced County Jail.

Although Alvarez is believed to be working with others, anyone with further information, in this case, is encouraged to contact Detective Moore at (559) 589-3629. 

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