News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Police Arrest Two Probationers in Possession of Stolen Mail
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Booking photos of suspects
Palo Alto, CA -- A traffic stop by a patrol officer led to the discovery of two probationers in possession of mail stolen from several Peninsula cities.  Police arrested both suspects.

On Sunday, August 30, 2014, at about 10:50 a.m., an officer on routine patrol stopped a teal 1993 Ford Ranger pick-up for a Vehicle Code violation in the 400 block of Ramona Street, and soon learned that the female driver and male passenger were both on active probation for burglary and identity theft out of Alameda County.

While conducting a probation search of the vehicle, officers located two bags containing letters and packages of U.S. Mail addressed to various residences in Menlo Park, Redwood City, Emerald Hills, Woodside, and Portola Valley, and one business in Palo Alto.  Officers also found a several personal checks stolen from a mailbox in Walnut Creek in early August; the checks had other people's personal identifying information written on them.  Officers also found flashlights, a crowbar, a hammer, pliers, and other tools that could be used to commit burglaries.

The ensuing investigation revealed that the mail and packages (other than the box of checks) had likely been stolen within the past 24 hours from several separate addresses in the above Peninsula cities.  It appears as though the mail was stolen off of porches or from curbside mailboxes, but that no homes were burglarized.   There is no information to indicate that either suspect is responsible for any additional crimes within Palo Alto.  Officers have reached out to all identified victims and returned the recovered mail.

Police booked 28-year-old Shawn Michael McCourt and 37-year-old Julie Ann Scott, both residents of Hayward, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for mail theft, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, and identity theft.  Additionally, police booked Scott for a probation violation and for driving with a suspended license.  The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has since filed charges against both suspects for felony mail theft, felony possession of stolen property, and misdemeanor possession of burglary tools.  Booking photos of both suspects are attached to this release.

Officers consulted with inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service on this case.  While the crime of mail theft can be prosecuted as a federal crime, it can also be prosecuted at the state level as appropriate.

Mail theft is a way for thieves to obtain documents that contain personal identifying information which can then be used to commit identity theft and fraud.  While mail theft is not a common crime in Palo Alto, it is still a good idea for people to take precautions to protect their mail by removing it from unsecured mailboxes in a prompt manner after delivery, and choosing electronic delivery of bank statements and similar documents whenever possible.  For more tips from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, click here.

If you believe you have been the victim of mail theft, please report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service via their website here.

Anyone with information about these suspects is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or