Vancouver police: Suspect stole large amounts of mail, financial information

Between 30-40 victims had credit cards, checks stolen

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Police are trying to locate 30 to 40 people who had their financial information compromised because of a mail theft in Vancouver.

Hundreds of pieces of stolen mail were recovered Saturday at a house in the 6100 block of Northwest Cherry Street, Vancouver Police Department Spokeswoman Kim Kapp said. The homeowner found the mail in a bedroom that had been used by a relative, and none of the mail was associated with the Cherry Street address or the house guest, police said.

Police have identified the suspect but have not made an arrest in the case. They did not release the suspect’s name.

The mail included credit cards, checks and other financial information for 30 to 40 people, mostly living in the Northwest Neighborhood in Vancouver, police said. Some of the victims may be from outside of that area.

Vancouver police are in the process of contacting the victims in an effort to encourage them to place fraud alerts on their accounts and to notify their financial institutions.

Police advise anyone who believes they may be the victim of mail theft or identity theft to make a police report, contact their financial institution or credit card company, and contact all three credit bureaus to run credit reports.

U.S. Postal Inspector Scott Helton said that mail theft isn’t a common occurrence, but the agency assists police when it is reported.

“Our role in the investigation is to get the stolen mail to our postal customers,” Helton said. “Mail theft is often perpetrated by people engaged in identity theft crimes, and of course we hate to see that.”

He advises homeowners to pick up their mail as quickly as possible and to not leave it in mailboxes overnight. Helton also reminded people to put their mail delivery on hold if they go on vacation.

For more information on identity theft prevention, visit the Vancouver Police Department’s identity theft prevention page at vanpolice.org.