BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- A picture captured from a game camera on Highway 71 in Cedar Creek could help Bastrop County solve a string of mailbox thefts.
James Miller is the lead investigator on the case.
"That picture led us to four individuals that have been named as suspects and also the location of that said vehicle," said Miller.
He's working with the U.S. Postal Inspector's office. Sherriff Terry Pickering said federal charges may be applied.
"Because of the numbers involved and the potential dollar amount, we think the U.S. Attorney's Office may pick up the prosecution on it," said Pickering.
Investigators said they believe the thieves stole mail from 500 to 800 homes, about 300 of those in Tahitian Village off Highway 71.
"Several of them were folks that found mail dumped outside their home," said Mary McDonald, manager of the Tahitian Village Property Owner Association.
She said she first heard about the thefts several weeks ago through an email.
"[The email was] from someone saying that her husband was out having his morning coffee on the porch and looked over and saw two young men going through people's mailboxes," said McDonald.
McDonald said the email went on to say that the man shouted, and the two men ran off toward a car. In the process of looking into these thefts, residents said they realized other crimes were happening, including the shooting of two dogs.
"A couple of attempted break-ins, some vandalism. One resident told me she had a Dr. Pepper can thrown through her window," said McDonald.
Investigators said the mailbox thefts also happened along a 15-mile stretch of Highway 21 from Bastrop to Paige.
They're looking into the possibility of these crimes expanding into surrounding counties while they seek warrants for the four suspects.
Tahitian Village is hosting crime prevention workshop Jan. 11. A deputy will host and give advice ranging from home observations skills to basic home security practices.