Detectives investigating mail fraud case
A suspicious resident helped Lake Stevens Police detectives recover over 350 pieces of stolen mail after she witnessed a woman tossing loads of mail into a condominium complex dumpster on the 800 block of 96th Ave. NE on November 6, 2013.
The resident called 911 and reported the suspect’s description and vehicle description to police who arrived shortly and found the suspect, a Snohomish County woman, sitting in her car.
“The woman gave a detailed description of the suspect and vehicle and one of our officers arrived in the area and found the suspect and vehicle parked in the complex but in a different area from the dumpster,” Lake Stevens Police Detective Jared Wachtveitl said. “When he made contact he saw a lot of mail inside her car — a large amount of mail is suspicious.”
The LSPD impounded the car and waited for a search warrant.
There was almost 400 pieces of mail with addresses in both Lake Stevens and Marysville. It looked like the suspect was throwing out what would be considered junk mail.
“Generally what you will see is that they will go through it and go through the ads. That is what she was throwing away, the stuff that isn’t of any value to them,” Wachtveitl said.
The mail was given to the Postal Inspector who is making contact with the victims.
“The Postal Inspector takes the contact information for the victims and sends them a letter notifying them. They are then asked to respond to the Postal Inspector with a statement confirming that the suspect did not have permission to have their mail. That’s how we start to build our victim base,” Wachtveitl explained. “Right now we basically have recovered the mail.”
No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation is still on going.
“Right now the plan is for the postal inspector to file charges but that depends on whether their prosecutors want to,” Wachtveitl said. “It does look as though we are close to filing charges on the case.”
Wachtveitl encourages mail patrons to be suspicious of anyone who seems to be following a mail carrier, UPS or other postal delivery drivers and call 911 if they think they are witnessing suspicious behavior.
“If you can have a locking mailbox or other options such as a P.O. Box it will help cut down on postal theft,” Wachtveitl said. “Other options are using online bank statements or trying to prevent statements from coming to your home.”