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2 brothers accused of stealing mail from homes evacuated because of Calaveras County wildfire

By Jonathan Ayestas

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    COPPEROPOLIS, California (KCRA) — Law enforcement officials took two brothers into custody who were stealing mail from homes in an area under evacuation orders because of a wildfire, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said.

Joseph Nobriga, 38, faces charges related to entering a disaster area, mail theft, driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit a crime, according to the sheriff’s office. He has two felony warrants issued in San Joaquin County related to vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.

Meanwhile, 31-year-old Mark Nobriga faces charges related to entering a disaster area, mail theft, possession of burglary tools, violating his probation and conspiracy to commit a crime, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies from both Calaveras and El Dorado counties were patrolling the evacuation area near Kiva Place and Little John Road in Copperopolis on Wednesday around 2:45 a.m. when they pulled over a vehicle they deemed suspicious.

While speaking with the two Stockton brothers, the sheriff’s office said deputies grew wary of why the two men said they were in an evacuation area. Deputies then learned about Joseph’s warrant and Mark’s probation violation.

The sheriff’s office said deputies searched the vehicle and found stolen mail from homes in Copperopolis, methamphetamine and burglary tools.

Evacuation orders are issued when there is an immediate threat to safety, and you are lawfully required to evacuate immediately.

“The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office would like to emphasize that disaster areas are under constant patrol, and a zero-tolerance approach will be taken for those entering closed areas,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.

A total of 102 law enforcement officers from several different agencies have been patrolling the evacuation areas, the sheriff’s office said, which plans to keep extra security patrols in place.

On Wednesday, some evacuations were lifted as firefighters made noticeable progress in halting the Aero Fire’s advance.

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