Two St. Paul men were charged Monday with identity theft following a weekslong crime spree during which they allegedly stole mail from homes primarily in Roseville and Woodbury.

Runger Vang, 25, admitted to returning to the same neighborhoods in hopes of obtaining personal identification numbers that would match credit cards he had already stolen, according to the complaints filed in Ramsey County District Court.

The thefts began in late December, Vang said.

Vang and his alleged accomplice, Chao Moua, 26, had been the subject of a crime alert issued by Roseville police last month. At the time, however, authorities did not know the men’s identities, only the description of their vehicle: a red Toyota RAV4 SUV.

The breakthrough came early Friday when the SUV was stopped by police in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood, and officers “observed several pieces of suspected stolen mail in plain view,” the charges say.

Hundreds of pieces of identifying information were uncovered during the subsequent investigation, authorities said Monday.

“This case illustrates my growing concern about how common identity theft is in our community,” County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. “Once identities are in their possession, criminals devise numerous schemes to commit fraud or other criminal acts.”

According to the charges, Moua initially declined to speak with investigators, but admitted in a later interview to having stolen mail with Vang.

Warrants were issued for the two men on Monday, with bail set for each at $100,000.

Anthony Lonetree