Mail Theft Monday – 2/8/10

La Pine Mail Theft
1110 KBND – 2/8/10

(LA PINE, OREGON) “A La Pine woman faces mail theft charges related to incidents that occurred in La Pine. Sheriff’s Deputies on Saturday night took 13 reports of mail theft or tampering. The Sheriff’s Office log shows they cited Tiffany Brooke Hughes, 29 for the offenses. Deputies say these cases are related to a similar incident reported January 29th when mail to various addresses was found in a shed on 6th Street.”

Police log: February 7, 2010
The Redding Record – 1/7/10

(REDDING, CALIFORNIA) […] “A cluster mailbox was pried open and mail, including paychecks, was missing in the 16000 block of Emmett Lane in Happy Valley. […]

An identify theft was reported by a caller in the 24000 block of Oak Way in Bella Vista.

The Hat Creek Post Office reported a possible mail theft from a post office box. […]

A front yard, mailbox and driveway were vandalized in the 6900 block of Weeks Lane in Churn Creek Bottom. […]

An identity theft was reported from an unlisted address. […]

A mailbox was vandalized in the 3000 block of Ponder Way in Cottonwood. […]

A lock was damaged at a cluster of mailboxes on Crag View Drive in Castella.”

3 St. Joseph residents arrested in forgery
The News-Press and St. Joe Now – 1/6/10

(ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI) “Three St. Joseph residents were arrested on charges of forgery, drug paraphernalia and receiving stolen property following a bad-check incident at a local truck stop, police said. Melinda Sue Talbot, 36; Sarina Lynn Simerly, 20; and Marcus D. Moore, 52, were arrested when Ms. Talbot tried to pass a supposed counterfeit check at Weidmaier’s Truck Stop, 4315 S. U.S. 169 Highway, on Wednesday.When questioned by the clerk, she fled the scene in a vehicle with the other two suspects.

About an hour later, a vehicle matching that description was pulled over, and the three were arrested. Detectives said the case may be linked with other counterfeit-check cases recently reported at banks and businesses spanning from the Kansas City area into South Dakota, including some local mail-theft cases. St. Joseph police are working with U.S. postal inspectors on the case.

The suspects have been charged locally, and postal authorities are reviewing the case for any federal charges.”

Keen detective delivers mail-theft suspects
Victorville Daily Press – 1/5/10

(APPLE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA) “One would-be mail thief reached into the wrong box Thursday morning. As he was taking mail from the box a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detective getting ready for work peered outside and spotted him. The detective followed the man and deputies later stopped him and found other pieces of mail that did not appear to belong to him inside the car. They arrested the man and a woman in the car and took them to the Apple Valley sheriff’s station, Sgt. Todd Newton of sheriff’s officials said.

“Their story really didn’t add up,” Newton said. Deputies executed a search warrant at about 11 a.m. Thursday at a home in the 12000 block of Pocono Road, where five detectives and two deputies found more mail and radio station equipment, Newton said. To read the full story, see Saturday’s Daily Press. […] Anyone who suspects they have mail missing may call the sheriff’s department at 245-4211.”

Police catch alleged mail thieves – 1/4/10

(WARWICK, PENNSYLVANIA) “A vigilant resident and a fast police response led to the arrest of two people accused of stealing personal checks and other outgoing mail from 21 mailboxes in Warwick and Warrington, police said Wednesday. Daniel J. Rocco, 22, and Angelene M. Brejcha, 19 of Warminster told police they took mail from residential mailboxes with outgoing flags raised in the hope of finding birthday cards stocked with money, said records. The pair planned to use the cash to support their drug habits, a criminal complaint said.

“They denied it at first, but later they admitted it was them,” said Warwick Police Chief Joseph C. Costello. The accused pair was arrested on Jan. 21 after a resident spotted their Toyota Camry trolling through his Brook Lane neighborhood shortly before 1 a.m., Costello said. The resident followed the car and then called 911 to relay the vehicle’s registration plate number, said police.

A Warwick officer rushed to the scene and stopped the Camry, which contained Rocco, Brejcha and a third person who, police determined, was not part of the criminal activity. Ultimately, police recovered 47 personal checks from Rocco and Brejcha that were stolen from 21 different residences, said records. Most of the victims live in Warwick, though there was at least one Warrington resident, said Costello.

The affected people were told about the thefts, but it’s possible there were more victims, said police. “We’re not sure of the full scope of this,” said the chief. “They claimed to have burned some mail earlier.”

The same resident whose sharp eyes led to the accused pair’s arrest spotted what police believe was the same Toyota Camry rolling through the Brook Lane neighborhood Jan. 19. That night, the vehicle left before the man, who’d been outside for a cigarette, could ascertain the car’s registration plate, said police. Warwick police said outgoing mail was reported stolen from six residences Jan. 19.

“These overnight crimes occur quickly. This type of immediate reporting is what we need from the community,” said Costello. “It gets us into the area faster and we can start immediately searching the neighborhood… Just call us and we’ll come check out what’s happening.”

Before identifying suspects, police believed the thieves might have been filching mail to obtain personal information that could be used to steal a person’s identity. No evidence suggests that Rocco or Brejcha had attempted to open fraudulent lines of credit or sell the victims’ personal information so that it could be used illegally. Still, the pair was charged with identity theft because it’s illegal to possess a person’s checks and related information without the owner’s consent, said Costello.

Other charges against Rocco and Brejcha include theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy. They were released on $15,000 unsecured bail following an arraignment by District Judge Jean Seaman, police said. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12.”

Mail theft suspect sentenced to prison
Mohave Daily News – 1/4/10

(KINGMAN, ARIZONA) “The seventh of eight suspects in a series of mailbox thefts in the Bullhead City area in the spring of 2009 was sentenced to prison Thursday. Dennis Michael Jackman, 49, of Bullhead City, had been charged with fraudulent schemes and artifices, five counts of conspiracy to commit theft and criminal damage. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft with the remaining charges being dropped.

Under the plea agreement, Superior Court Judge Rick Williams sentenced Jackman to two years and nine months in prison. The defendant must also pay more than $32,500 in restitution to the U.S. Post Office, Bank of America and U.S. Bank. […] The thefts occurred between April and June 2009. […]

Welch, Bowersox and Marcum were arrested June 11 in Bullhead City. Police searched a home and allegedly found stolen mail and homemade counterfeit keys used to break into cluster mailboxes in 10 neighborhoods throughout the Bullhead City area. Wheeler, Breitkopf and Currier were arrested in Kingman the same day after allegedly trying to cash stolen checks in Kingman. Jackman was arrested the next day in Bullhead City in connection with the alleged mail thefts. Wolf turned herself in July 24. She was originally arrested June 5 for allegedly trying to pass a stolen check at a Needles bank.”

Zillah area residents warned of possible mail theft
Yakima Herald-Republic – 1/3/10

(ZILLAH, WASHINGTON) “Authorities are asking Zillah residents to keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles near their mailboxes. Numerous mail boxes were found open this morning between the Yakima Valley Highway north to the county landfill,  Sgt. Bill Splawn of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a news release.

Mail had not yet been delivered to the area and the Zilllah Post Office was notified of the possible attempted mail theft. Residents are asked to report strange vehicles pulling up to mail boxes or driving slowly in the area. Call the Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500 for more information.”

Fraud detectives arrest 2 Reno suspects in mail theft cases
The Reno-Gazette Journal – 1/3/10

(RENO, NEVADA) ” Two Reno suspects were arrested Wednesday in connection with mail thefts and fraud cases in the area in the past nine months, detectives of the Northern Nevada Repeat Offender Program said. Philip Stott, 50, and Angela Schmelzle, 34, booked into jail after a three-week investigation and their 3 p.m. arrests in southwest Reno after officers saw them allegedly steal mail, Sgt. Jeff Freelove said. Both were charged on suspicion of identity theft and possession of a financial laboratory.

Stott also was charged on suspicion of commercial burglary, forgery, uttering a forged instrument and possession of a forged instrument and Schmelzle with identity theft, possession of stolen credit cards and theft. The Northern Nevada Fraud and Identity Task Force includes investigators from the U.S. Secret Service, postal inspectors, Sparks and Reno police and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives can be reached at 334-2115 or call Secret Witness at 322-4900.”

Louisville man charged with stealing mail and trying to cash fraudulent checks
WHAS 11 – 2/1/10

louisville mail thief(LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY) “A Louisville man is charged with stealing dozens of pieces of mail and trying to cash fraudulent checks. Police said 29-year-old Bryon Hodges tried to cash a check that he had altered, at the BB&T Bank on U.S. 42, near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway.

Officers arrested him and searched his vehicle, finding three more stolen and forged checks, and thirty pieces of stolen mail. Hodges has been charged with 30 counts of possession of stolen mail and four counts of forging checks.”

Stolen Mail Leads to Serious Car Crash
KSAZ Fox 10 – 2/1/10

(PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZONA) “Two children are reportedly among those hurt in a serious two-vehicle crash in Paradise Valley Monday night. It happened about 5:25 p.m. near Tatum and Lincoln. Phoenix Fire says that two adults and two children were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Paradise Vallley Police Commander Alan Laitsch says that it started when police received a tip that someone was stealing mail in a nearby neighborhood. An officer made a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle – inside was a woman and two children.

As the officer took her information and returned to his patrol car, she apparently took off eastbound on Lincoln. That’s when she collided with another vehicle that a man was driving. Lincoln was shut down at 52nd Place in both directions after the crash. The roadway reopened about 7:30 p.m. All four remain hospitalized.”

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