CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When a federal judge asked Erik Magana if he was guilty of mail theft and aggravated identity theft, he said "Yes."
Magana admitted in court Tuesday that he stole more than $250,000 and victimized 1,500 people.
Case documents stated that between sometime in 2016 and November 2018, mail containing credit cards, debit cards and checks were stolen from a south Charlotte neighborhood off Landing View Lane near Providence Road.
"I felt very safe before. I do not put any checks in the mail anymore," said resident Carolyn Duvall.
In December, Duvall said she thought she was a victim after she had a check stolen from her mailbox.
"Mine, before they caught, it was only $3,000, but that was like in an hour. Then, they had created six different checks and gone to different locations and gotten money," said Duvall.
Residents said they received letters about the case after Magana was arrested in December.
Investigators said they identified him using surveillance video captured in November showing a driver of a dark-colored Mercedes reaching into mailboxes during the early hours of the morning and removing mail.
Officials said they also tracked Magana's car and did a stakeout in which they witnessed him taking mail.
Magana could face up to seven years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
A date for the sentencing hearing hasn't been set.
Cox Media Group