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Martinez woman, Walnut Creek man accused in mail thefts

By DONNA BETH WEILENMAN
Martinez Tribune

A 19-year-old Martinez woman and a 34-year-old Walnut Creek man have been arrested after a Walnut Creek resident allegedly saw them sitting in a truck opening packages Wednesday, Walnut Creek Police Sgt. Bruce Jower said.

Shawna Byars, 19, of Martinez, arrested on mail theft-related charges. (ON FILE)
Shawna Byars, 19, of Martinez, arrested on mail theft-related charges. (ON FILE)

Jower said the caller, a Walnut Creek woman who lives near La Vista Road and Lakewood Circle, told police the pair had parked a 1994 green Chevrolet S10 pickup truck near her home and were unwrapping parcels.

She considered the situation suspicious and called Walnut Creek police about 4:33 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, he said. “During the holiday season, package theft from porches and mail theft are on the rise,” Jower said.

The caller gave the police the truck’s license number and said that when the pair noticed she was watching them, “they quickly drove away,” Jower said.

Officers responding to Lakewood Circle saw a pickup truck matching the vehicle’s description and made a traffic stop, he said.

Officers said the two inside the truck were in possession of stolen packages that had allegedly been taken from front porches of four homes in both Walnut Creek and nearby unincorporated Contra Costa County. They said they also found the pair in possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

Craig Lancaster, 34, also arrested on mail theft-related charges. (ON FILE)
Craig Lancaster, 34, also arrested on mail theft-related charges. (ON FILE)

Jower identified the pair as Shawna Byars, 19, of Martinez, and Craig Lancaster, 34, of Walnut Creek. He said they have been accused of being in possession of burglary tools, stolen property, a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

They were booked into the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez.

“Due to an alert citizen identifying suspicious activity in her neighborhood, this citizen recovered packages – gifts – for four Walnut Creek families, and assisted the Walnut Creek Police Department in apprehending two thieves,” Jower said. “Be alert and report suspicious activity to your local police department.”

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