Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Suspected mail thieves targeted Christmas gifts on local porches

Stolen presents found under Vancouver suspects' tree


Federal prosecutors have filed charges against three people accused of stealing presents from people’s porches in and around Vancouver just before Christmas.

Arrested were Jason May, 34, Jolynn May, 34, and Mychal Lecouris, 30, all of Vancouver. Jolynn May and Lecouris made their first appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on suspicion of mail theft. Jason May remained in the Clark County Jail to resolve local charges before being transported to Tacoma to face federal charges, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said.

The three are accused of stealing such items as a Target gift card, a Powell’s Books box, a Nordstrom package and several new toys, according to charging papers.

In all, at least nine residents in east Vancouver and the Camas area were hit just before Christmas, said Dennis Fernald, supervisor with U.S. Postal Service’s inspection service in Portland.

The suspects roamed neighborhoods in a green Jetta, looking for packages on porches or breaking into locked community mailboxes, where postal workers left packages, according to charging papers.

The three dubbed this their “Christmas shopping,” according to court documents. The thefts started Dec. 2 and continued through Christmas Eve.

The three were reportedly caught after one resident notified authorities Dec. 23 that he saw a suspicious man in a Jetta stop at the neighborhood’s community mailbox and begin tinkering with the locks. After the witness shined a flashlight on the man, he fled. The witness was still able to record a license plate number.

According to charging documents, the license plate number was traced to Jolynn May.

On Christmas Eve, Vancouver police Sgt. Jay Alie spotted a green Jetta pull into a driveway in an unspecified location, and watched as a man jumped out and stole a package on the front porch.

After stopping the Jetta, Alie questioned the occupants. Identified as Jason May, Jolynn May and Lecouris, the three confessed to stealing packages on “numerous” occasions, according to court papers.

“Jolynn May admitted that she and her husband, Jason May, sometimes took the stolen items back to their apartment,” according to a probable cause affidavit written by Postal Inspector Kristin Miller. “Jolynn May admitted they were mostly looking for cash.”

Fernald said the three also tried to exchange some of the goods for cash.

At one point, there wasn’t enough room to carry their pilfered presents: “Mychal Lecouris admitted that he, Jason May and Jolynn May stole so many packages during the evening that at one point they stopped the vehicle and placed many of the stolen items inside the trunk of the vehicle,” according to Miller’s affidavit.

Where did all the gifts go after that?

After serving a search warrant at the May home, postal inspectors found many of them “with address labels clearly removed and wrapped as gifts underneath the Christmas tree,” according to court records.

The three were arrested.

If convicted of mail theft, the three could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Now, the postal service will play Santa Claus to the victims — a challenging task since the gifts were separated from their original packages, Fernald said.

Thursday, postal inspectors were putting together an Excel spreadsheet with items stolen and comparing it with complaints filed.

“It’s going to be a very tedious process,” he said, before they can return gifts to their rightful owners.

Also on Thursday, the Vancouver Police Department issued a press release, reminding residents to be on guard against mail theft. Among the tips offered were regularly picking up your mail and obtaining a post office box if you don’t have a locked mail box.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.

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