Reading Police Department Arrests Five in Connection with Theft from a Mailbox After Vehicle Pursuit

Reading, MA — Chief David Clark reports that the Reading Police Department arrested five individuals early Monday morning for a variety of violations, including stealing from a mailbox and leading police in a pursuit.

MICHELLY ZAVALA-ESCOBAR, AGE 21, OF READING was arrested and charged with:

  • Marked Lanes Violation
  • Failure to Signal Before Turning/Stopping
  • Speeding
  • Operating to Endanger
  • Failure to Stop for Police
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle After License Suspended
  • Illegal Possession of a Class A Substance
  • Breaking and Entering in the Night Time Into a Depository
  • Receiving Stolen Property Over $1,200
  • Common Law Conspiracy

BRANDON BAEZ, AGE 18, OF ROXBURY was arrested and charged with:

  • Breaking and Entering in the Night Time Into a Depository
  • Receiving Stolen Property Over $1,200
  • Common Law Conspiracy


  • Breaking and Entering in the Night Time Into a Depository
  • Receiving Stolen Property Over $1,200
  • Common Law Conspiracy

On Monday, Feb. 1, at approximately 12:50 a.m., a Reading Police officer on patrol on Haven Street near the post office observed a red minivan parked alongside the street with its engine running. The officer paid special attention to the vehicle due to a recent and sustained series of incidents in which mail was stolen from post office boxes.

The officer followed the vehicle onto Main Street as it left the area, and observed as it cross the double yellow lines. When the officer activated his emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop while on Walkers Brook Road, the vehicle first slowed and then abruptly accelerated and eventually led the officer onto I-95 southbound. Given the light traffic and dry road conditions, the officer continued his pursuit before the van pulled over along the interstate.

Following the arrival of additional officers, Reading Police secured the scene and initiated an on-scene investigation, with the assistance of Massachusetts State Police. During the investigation, officers observed what they later determined was 200 pieces of mail on the front passenger side floorboard of the vehicle. Many of the envelopes contained return addresses in Reading. Scattered among the mail were several open envelopes and checks.

During their investigation, officers located a knotted bag containing a substance they suspected was heroin inside a purse identified as belonging to the driver, ZAVALA-ESCOBAR.

Officers seized several items from the vehicle, including more than 200 unopened envelopes, 11 loose personal checks, three washed personal checks, nine bank cards, the bag of suspected heroin, and eight packages of marijuana.

Officers allegedly located three altered checks showing values larger than $4,000 in BAEZ’S possession, along with over $500 in cash and a bank card not belonging to him. Police also seized nearly $200 in cash from CALCERES.

“These officers displayed excellent awareness in recognizing a crime in progress and did a great job safely taking these suspects into custody,” Chief Clark said.

“These officers were aware that mail theft is a continued problem in ours and many other communities, and that understanding and increased awareness of the signs of this type of crime resulted in the arrest of several suspects and prevented the potential loss of thousands of dollars,” Lt. Detective Richard Abate said.

The Reading Police Department wishes to offer the following tips from the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to help prevent mail theft and protect your personal information:

  • Deposit all outgoing mail at your local post office or hand it to a uniformed USPS letter carrier.
  • Deposit your outgoing mail in a blue USPS collection box prior to the last pickup time of the day.
  • If you do not receive a check, credit card, or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the sender as soon as possible and inquire about it. Never send cash through the mail.
  • When mailing something important, consider requesting Signature Confirmation for the intended recipient.
  • Do not leave mail or packages next to a collection box if it is full, or if your package does not fit.

The incident remains under investigation. All five individuals were arraigned at the Woburn District Court on Monday. Each was released on personal recognizance under the condition they avoid contact with one another. All five are due back in court Wednesday, March 24.

All individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email