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Gilroy
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December 1, 2021

Alleged recyclables, ID thief was less than four days out of prison

Less than four days after Ernest Martinez got out of prison,
police found him rummaging through recyclables, with stolen bank
statements, bills, blank checks and other documents in his
possession.
Less than four days after Ernest Martinez got out of prison, police found him rummaging through recyclables, with stolen bank statements, bills, blank checks and other documents in his possession.

An “on the ball” officer on routine patrol about 8 a.m. Monday morning noticed Martinez, 40, rifling through recycling bins along the 7400 block of Forest Street. Stealing recyclables is illegal, so the officer detained and searched Martinez – on parole for vehicle theft and felony evading, according to Deputy District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson.

The officer found stolen mail, including personal blank checks, insurance documents, bank statements, DMV documents, bills, payroll checks, social security checks and blank credit card applications from at least 23 Gilroy residents, said Sgt. Jim Gillio.

Martinez appeared in court Thursday for his arraignment on charges of identity theft and five counts of possession of stolen property – all felonies – Hendrickson said.

Because some of the mail appeared to have been stolen directly out of mailboxes, Hendrickson advised residents to get locked mailboxes and against putting outgoing mail in unlocked mailboxes.

“Shred your financial documents,” she also advised. “Even if that means just tearing them up into little pieces. Don’t put intact financial documents in recycling.”

Martinez appeared on the Gilroy Dispatch’s Most Wanted in early 2006, and was arrested for parole hold in May of this year. After this latest incident, police arrested him on multiple charges and parole hold.

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