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A message from the past
January 03, 2013, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Someone in San Carlos is missing a Christmas message from 1938 — really.

Mail theft in San Carlos recently resulted in police finding thousands of pieces of undelivered mail in the carrier’s car and San Bruno home. Many of the pieces of mail are slowly being returned to either the sender or intended recipient. But one piece of mail caught the eye of Daly City police Detective Joe Bocci — a Western Union telegram from Reno, Nev., addressed to an Emma Gonzalez of San Francisco signed by Minnie and Fred.

"I wish it had been in its original envelope,” said Bocci who had never before held a real telegram. "It’s an antique and historical for someone; a family heirloom.”

Bocci assumes someone was mailing it to a family member in San Carlos so they could have this unique family artifact.

It’s a short telegram that reads, "Arrived safely, no snow but real cold nice trip be back Monday Merry Xmas to all. Minnie & Fred.”

Without the original envelope, Bocci can’t return or deliver the 74-year-old note. By turning to the media, he hopes someone with information will come forward.  

There were also lots of red and green envelopes among the stolen mail. Since the mail was ripped open, gift cards for iTunes were also not delivered this holiday season, Bocci said. Mail thieves also used the mail to get access to credit cards.

Last week, Edgar Suing Guinto, 41, pleaded no contest to commercial burglary and identity theft. He will receive no prison and up to a year in the county jail when sentenced Jan. 31.

Meanwhile, the man accused of stealing the mail, Romeo Maniuli Natan, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 5 and the other two men accused of accepting the stolen cards will have a hearing Jan. 9.

Prosecutors say Natan, 38, of San Bruno, stole thousands of pieces of mail and was found with more than 3,000 undelivered pieces at his home when arrested last month, according prosecutors. Most of the thefts occurred in the Devonshire Avenue area of San Carlos.

Authorities arrested Natan after surveillance video at the Target store in Colma showed him using a stolen card and an alleged accomplice caught using a different stolen card implicated him as the source.

Natan allegedly gave the cards for use to Guinto, Marlo Tubig Lacsamana, 41, and Joel Pineda Lugtu, 31.

Natan, Lacsamana and Lugtu are in custody in lieu of $150,000. Guinto is held on $100,000 bail.

Anyone with information about the telegram should call Detective Joe Bocci at 991-8171.

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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