Moraga police asked the right questions and exercised what veteran officers refer to as “beat knowledge” to break down the story of a man they found running along Moraga Road Sunday – developing information that eventually led them to another suspect and a cache of recently stolen mail.
Lt. Jon King said the episode got underway around noon Sunday when residents near Ascot Drive and Moraga Road called police to report a man acting suspiciously in the area.
Officers caught up with a man later identified as Robert Bilbrey, 27, of Richmond, and were told how Bilbrey’s truck had broken down and how he was trying to find his girlfriend. Officers obtained permission to search Bilbrey and allegedly found a check stolen from a mailbox in Orinda in his possession.
Asking questions a little more directly, police convinced their man to take them back to a truck they remembered seeing earlier in the day, retracing his steps to a Chevy S10 pickup parked at Scofield Drive and Rheem Blvd., according to King. A search turned up even more stolen mail and, after more questioning, the arrest of an alleged accomplice, identified as Joey Bonnett, 27, of El Sobrante.
Police recovered departmental ID and credit cards belonging to a San Francisco County Sheriff’s deputy and other mail stolen in a recent string of thefts throughout Lamorinda.
Both Bonnett and Bilbrey were booked at county jail in Martinez on suspicion of possessing stolen property, King said. Police in Orinda, and U.S. Postal Service investigators, were also called on to help further unravel the case and return the pilfered mail to its intended recipients.