Police in Fairfield, California, investigated a burglary of a US Postal Service mail truck that took place on Monday. It quickly resulted in the arrest of a local man. Here’s how it all went down according to a social media release from the Fairfield Police Department.
Oh and guess what… the suspect was allegedly on “supervised release” from prison.
The USPS mail truck was parked near the intersections of Quail Drive and Fremont Court when someone allegedly broke into the vehicle using a high-powered concrete nail gun. The driver returned to the truck and found mail and her personal belongings had been stolen. Those personal belongings included a credit card.
While officers were on scene, the victim received notifications that her stolen credit card was being used at a nearby Target. Police responded only to find the suspect had already left the store. But reviewing video surveillance provided both a suspect and a vehicle description.
The Fairfield Police were able to use Flock cameras to track the suspect’s vehicle and determined it traveled to a hotel in Cordelia. Flock cameras provide a wide range of capabilities that can intelligently identify and track vehicles as they pass interlinked cameras.
Fairfield Police Officer Cuevas spotted a car matching the suspect’s vehicle and made a traffic stop. Among the vehicle’s occupants was 37 year-old Fairfield resident John Scharff, whom police state was on Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS).
More about this below, but individuals released on PRCS can be searched by law enforcement as a term of their release.
A search of the vehicle located, you guessed it, a concrete nail gun. Police also searched Scharff’s hotel room and recovered the victim’s belongings and numerous pieces of suspected stolen mail from “all over California,” according to the Fairfield Police Department. Investigators from the Fairfield Police Department were assisted by the US Postal Service Investigators.
Scharff was arrested on multiple burglary charges, along with another occupant of the vehicle: 32 year-old Marina Larson of Vacaville.
More About Post-Release Community Supervision
Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS) is a process created by the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown as AB 109.
PRCS allows certain convicted felons to be released from state prison and sent back to their counties to be “supervised” locally. Although the state controls the release terms, local counties are responsible for all aspects of the supervision.
My experience from 15 years in law enforcement is there is no actual supervision of these offenders.
Individuals who violate the terms of PRCS are not returned to the state system but can face up to six months in county jail. This is a key difference between PRCS and parole. Also, there is a three-year cap on the supervision program regardless of recidivism, and early discharge from the program can be obtained in as little as six months.
Proponents of PRCS claim the program reduces recidivism. Opponents highlight that it pushes the cost and responsibilities onto local communities without giving counties much control over the terms of release.
Certain felony convictions, including those classified as “serious” or “violent,” make an inmate ineligible for PRCS.