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Postal break-in suspect faces 11 felonies
The man arrested in connection with a recent string of post office box break-ins at the Yuma Main Post Office was charged with 11 offenses in Yuma Justice Court on Monday.
Armando Castanon, 34, of Yuma, was charged with six counts of burglary and five counts of attempted burglary, and still faces the prospect of additional charges.
Castanon was arraigned before Justice of the Peace Greg Stewart, who informed him that he also had three other cases against him and that he could be charged with three more counts of burglary and three counts of possession of burglary tools.
Stewart told Castanon the county attorney's office was reviewing the new cases and had 48 hours to determine whether to file a criminal complaint against him, charging him with the six additional offenses. Santa Cruz will be back in court on Wednesday.
In addition to assigning the Yuma County Public Defender's Office to represent him, Judge Stewart also set a preliminary hearing for Castanon for Friday at 4 p.m.
Stewart also informed Castanon that he was ordering his bond on the offenses he was charged with on Monday remain at $300,000, which had set during a previous hearing. As for the new charges, Stewart set a separate bond of $105,000, which is $35,000 for each of the three additional new cases.
A representative from the U.S. Postal Service also spoke to the court during the hearing, saying it could be weeks or even months before the full extent of Castanon's thefts are seen, adding the types of documents stolen in the post office box break-ins could be used to create forged documents and to commit other types of fraud.
According to Yuma police, officers arrested Castanon at approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, within hours of the U.S. Postal Service asking the public for its help in identifying a man in a photo who they suspected was the thief.
In a follow-up on one of the many anonymous tips, Castanon was arrested in the 1000 block of East Estrella Lane. Officers also recovered some of the stolen mail.
In addition, Castanon may face federal charges. Mail theft is a federal crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
YPD and postal investigators believe there may be other unreported victims in the break-ins. They are asked to call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-877-876-2455, option 3, or Yuma Detective Montana at 373-4700.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or at 539-6854.