Joe celebrated his 17th birthday, which tragically turned out to be his last.

In March, five East Valley mailboxes – four in Mesa, one in Gilbert – were blown apart.

According to police, what sounded like a teen prank was the malicious work of

 a 30-year-old transient with a long arrest record.

According to the police report, “March 12 and March 15 of 2021, five incidents were reported to the Mesa and Gilbert police regarding the destruction of mailboxes via an unknown explosive device. 

“Evidence left at the scene of the last Mesa incident indicated the explosive device was likely some kind of a consumer firework. In three of the Mesa incidents, video footage captured by surveillance cameras showed the suspect vehicle to be a maroon Hyundai Sonata, likely between 2006 and 2010.”

Mesa police searched vehicle records and came up with a likely suspect: John David Janecek. 

“A search of social media revealed a Facebook page for Janecek in which he had uploaded several videos of himself building and/or setting off consumer fireworks,” the police report noted.

On May 28, Mesa Police Department officers arrested Janecek at 100 N. 22nd Place, near East University Drive and North Gilbert Road.

Police say Janecek was in possession of methamphetamine and Psilocybin (also known as “psychedelic mushrooms”) when he was arrested.

During an interrogation, “Janecek denied destroying the mailboxes but did admit he had been in possession of ‘materials’ that he believed he should not have been and so had them destroyed. Janecek advised he would not blow up mailboxes.

At several points in the interview, Janecek began to make incriminating statements about blowing up the mailboxes but then stopped short and corrected himself.

After receiving a search warrant, police went through Janecek’s Facebook page and found a message he sent to a friend: “You sure have seen a lot of mailboxes disappearing.” 

Later, Janecek “admitted to blowing up several mailboxes” and said he had paid the owner of one blown-up box $30 and apologized to him. 

“Janecek advised he had wanted to apologize to the owners of the other mailboxes,” according to the police report.

Janecek, who told police he is unemployed, previously was arrested for theft, shoplifting, possession of marijuana, DUI, reckless driving, credit card theft, manufacture of dangerous drugs, forgery and trespassing.

He was convicted for forgery and marijuana and dangerous drugs possession. ′

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