A pair from Bakersfield suspected of stealing mail and driving with weapons and narcotics were arrested Friday afternoon near Castaic Middle School, sheriff’s officials confirmed.
Shortly after 12:15 p.m., the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Summer Suppression team was conducting a patrol check in Castaic, where they located a man and a woman acting suspiciously near the corner of Hillcrest Parkway and Capallero Drive, just east of Sloan Canyon Road in Castaic, according to Deputy Joshua Stamsek.
“The deputies conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle based on the suspicious behavior, as well as the trash bag of items being thrown out,” Stamsek said.
After contacting the individuals regarding the potential illegal dumping violation, they were found to be in possession of a significant amount of mail that did not belong to them, SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Robert Lewis said.
Deputies investigated evidence the driver, 30-year-old Nickolas Ray Peaker, was driving with a suspended license, according to Stamsek. When they detained Peaker, deputies reported finding a firearm in plainview.
The female passenger, 34-year-old Crystal Joi Lehrman, was accused of being in possession of about $300 in counterfeit U.S. money, Stamsek confirmed.
Over the course of the investigation, deputies also reported finding a stolen .357 pistol, an AR-15, methamphetamines and four trash bags of stolen mail, he said.
Lewis, who serves as de facto chief of police for the city of Santa Clarita, credited a specialized group of deputies assigned to tackle crime throughout the SCV for using proactive methods to assess the situation.
“The Summer Enforcement Team, provided by (county) 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, has been working hard in the unincorporated areas of Castaic, Stevenson Ranch and Canyon Country for the past few months,” Lewis said. “The combined work of the team and regular patrols in the unincorporated area, particularly in Castaic and Stevenson Ranch has had a significant impact in reducing the crime.”
Peaker, a convicted felon from the Bakersfield area, is being held in lieu of $236,000 bail and faces multiple felony charges including possession of a controlled substance while armed and carrying a loaded firearm in public, Stamsek said.
Lehrman, also from the Bakersfield area, is being held in lieu of $90,250 bail and faces felony mail theft and forgery.
The pair also faces additional drug and federal mail theft charges, including possession of stolen or reproduced Postal Service keys.
“Today was a great example of what the summer team’s efforts in the Castaic area can provide,” Lewis said, “to protect the community.”