Bakersfield man faces federal charges for mail theft
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) —
After an investigation lasting months, a federal grand jury has indicted a Bakersfield man for mail theft.
Jason Geiser, 36, faces eight counts. Court documents show repeated theft incidents while officers investigated Geiser.
On Dec. 9, police were called out to the Rosedale Hotel when a worker got suspicious about a woman who had checked in. She didn't seem to match the info on the ID she used, and "multiple pieces of mail" were seen falling out of her car door as she got out.
Officers checked that car in the parking lot and saw envelopes and packages inside, with multiple names and addresses.
The officers went to the woman's room but then saw the woman and Geiser run off. They were caught, and their room was searched because Geiser was on probation.
Investigators eventually found “hundreds of pieces” of mail, mailbox-type keys, a credit card reader and a tool used to break into mailboxes.
Both Bakersfield police and U.S. Postal Service inspectors worked on the case.
Then on Jan. 4, officers got reports of a community mailbox broken into in northwest Bakersfield. A witness reported seeing a white SUV, and one officer remembered Geiser had been using a white SUV when he was spotted at the Rosedale Hotel.
The officers also noted Geiser lived in the area of that mailbox theft, according to the court case.
At that home, investigators say they found a white SUV with mailbox break-in tools and several pieces of mail inside.
They also searched the house, because Geiser was on probation. In the back yard, they found a man in a shed who was "going through multiple piles of mail and parcels addressed to at least twenty different individuals."
In that shed, officers say they also found stolen checks, credit and debit cards, and "notebooks containing financial and personal information."
U.S. Postal Inspectors say they interviewed Geiser in jail, where he was being held on state charges. He waived his rights, and told investigators that he had opened up the community mailbox that day with a counterfeit key.
He also told them he opened other mailboxes with the same key that same morning, according to the case report.
But on March 2, Geiser is then found at a La Quinta Inn in Bakersfield by a spokesman from a bail bond company. That man called Bakersfield Police to say that he had searched Geiser because there were several warrants for his arrest .
The police spotted Geiser and a woman near a car, and when they walked up, the officers saw a lot of mail in plain sight in the car.
Because Geiser was on active probation, they searched the car and also found several driver licenses, social security cards, and credit cards.
The officers reported they also found some credit card applications, some blank checks with different names, some tax forms including W-2s, and a tool set.
Geiser was in federal court in Bakersfield Wednesday on the charges related to this investigation.
Manning Richards is a neighbor who uses the mailbox that was broken into on Jan. 4. He's glad to hear the suspect faces federal charges.
"We did not lose mail, but we did, in fact, had several other of the people did lose mail," he told Eyewitness News.
Neighbors have now put up a sign saying there's a surveillance camera watching the mailbox.
Richards said the Post Office also changed the master key for the box.
A Postal Inspector tells Eyewitness News there are on-going mail theft investigations in the Bakersfield area, and there will be more of this kind of thing going on.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Geiser could face a maximum sentence of 10 years, and a fine of $250,000 if he's convicted. They also say there will be a hearing on March 29 to determine if he will remain in custody.
Richards hopes the suspect gets stiff punishment.
"I think they'll probably give him a nice, long stay," Richards said. "Next time, we won't have to worry about it."