Man indicted in S.F. mail theft

- This is KTVU crime reporter Henry Lee's Rap Sheet blog for Nov. 8, 2017:

MAIL THEFT: A man police say was caught on video stealing mail from a condo complex in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday.

Aleksandr Akopov was charged with unlawful possession and use of a postal service key, mail theft and unlawful possession of stolen mail.

The charges stem from an investigation by San Francisco police and U.S. postal inspectors.

 Authorities say Akopov and a woman were caught on surveillance video using a stolen or fake U.S. Postal service key to get into the lobby of the building at 2701 Van Ness Ave. at about 5:30 a.m. Aug. 18, 2016.

Akopov then used a key to open mail box panels inside the lobby, and both Akopov and the woman stole letters and packages, which they then hid in bags, authorities said. They were in and out of the lobby in four minutes, investigators said.

Postal inspectors and police recognized Akopov on the video based on an earlier residential-burglary investigation conducted by San Francisco police, according to an affidavit by U.S. Postal Inspector Patrick Esteban. 

Among the charges Akopov is facing is unlawful possession of an American Express credit card. The card had been stolen from the mail belonging to a condo resident, who reported that someone had racked up $4,359 in unauthorized charges from a jewelry store, a drug store and a restaurant. Esteban wrote.

Investigators say Akopov and the same woman stole mail earlier that same month and tried a third time to steal mail but were thwarted because the lobby intercom unit was broken. 

SAN JOSE POLICE SUED OVER SAME-SEX ARRESTS

Five men arrested by San Jose police for allegedly soliciting lewd acts with an undercover officer filed a federal class-action lawsuit Wednesday against the city, saying officers engaged in discrimination because they didn't target suspects of the opposite sex.

The plaintiffs, Fernando Ruiz, Daniel Bufano, Elijah El-Amin, John J. Ferguson and Clay Morgan-Parks sued the city of San Jose, Chief Eddie Garcia and six officers.

They accuse San Jose police of violating the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause because officers of one sex never target those of the other.

Judges dismissed the criminal cases against the men. Their attorney, Bruce Nickerson, is seeking class-action status for the suit so he can represent other people who have been arrested by San Jose police in similar cases. Nickerson has filed similar suits in the past challenging arrests for public solicitations of sex.

You can see Henry Lee daily on KTVU. If you have a tip for Henry, send an email to Henry.Lee@foxtv.com or contact him on Twitter

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