Police uncover 'huge' identity- and mail-theft operation
Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
U.S. Postal Inspector Matthew Rintoul, left, and Port Townsend Police Detective Jason Greenspane inspect the evidence confiscated in an identity theft case in which an estimated 1,000 pounds of mail were recovered.
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Adam Justin Lysiak, 38, remained in custody in the Jefferson County jail Wednesday on $250,000 bail after his arrest for investigation of identity theft and possession of stolen property.
His first court appearance was Wednesday. He will be formally charged in Jefferson County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
“This is huge,” said Port Townsend Police Officer Luke Bogues.
“Since the arrest, we are getting more reports about the bad checks he has passed.”
No link has been found so far with Clallam County.
Lysiak eventually could be charged with more than 100 felonies, since each 10 pieces of mail potentially could be the basis for two Class C felonies: theft of mail and possession of stolen mail, Bogues said.
And that doesn't include potential charges of forgery, passing bad checks and using stolen cards, he added.
Bogues said police believe Lysiak traveled nightly through Jefferson County and neighboring counties to steal mail, and used the mail to create fake identities, forge identification cards, pass bad checks and use stolen cards.
“The scope of Lysiak's fraud scheme was the largest yet investigated by the Port Townsend police,” Bogues said.
Officers and a U.S. Postal Service inspector, Matthew Rintoul, have been going through plastic bags of confiscated mail, Bogues said.
So far, the stolen mail appears to be from Jefferson and Kitsap counties, he said.
As of Wednesday, no mail had been found from Clallam County, Bogues said.
“Down the road, there might be a link, but now, we don't have one,” he said.
Bogues said there was no apparent connection to a Jan. 30 case in which Jefferson County sheriff's deputies found Sequim mail in an unoccupied car at Diamond Point that had been linked to Jefferson County burglaries.
Port Townsend police were assisted in arresting Lysiak by the Clallam County Sheriff's Office, the Port Angeles and Sequim police departments, the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Department of Corrections and Olympic National Park.
That was because the state had a warrant for Lysiak for escaping community custody in Federal Way, Bogues said. A warrant sweep in Port Angeles saw officers joining the Corrections officer in responding.
Officers Tuesday found more than 1,000 pounds of mail — along with computers, printers and other evidence — in a search of Lysiak's apartment in the 1500 block of Sherman Street, Bogues said.
“The evidence is significant and is expected to take weeks to process,” Bogues said, adding that investigators with the Secret Service have offered help in searching the computers.
Bogues said he received a tip from a juvenile directing him to Lysiak's apartment on Sherman Street and that a search warrant for his apartment and car was obtained.
Officers confronted Lysiak at his front door, Bogues said, after which he jumped from his balcony .
Officers waiting at the back of the building arrested him.
Lysiak was slightly injured and was treated at Jefferson Healthcare hospital and discharged before he was taken to jail, Bogues said.
Several several bags of mail were scattered throughout the apartment, Bogues added.
Lysiak was manufacturing fake driver's licenses to use as identification in cashing checks, Bogues said, adding that police confiscated several licenses in various stages of development along with the printer and paper used to create the facsimiles.
The mail was accumulated over a two-month period, Bogues added.
Jefferson County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft said Lysiak has an extensive criminal history, including dozens of arrests for theft and fraud crimes.
Ashcraft said it was unlikely that the confiscated mail would be returned to its intended recipients anytime soon.
“People would like to get their mail back, but right now, it's still evidence,” Ashcraft said.
“It'll be effective to haul all of these bags into the courtroom and confront [Lysiak] with the seriousness of his crime.”
Lysiak did not commit the crimes alone, Bogues said, but no other arrests have been made in the case.
“We have identified several people who may have been involved but have not charged anyone,” Bogues said.
Bogues said he expected the operation to kick into high gear today as more of the mail is laid out on tables and sorted by ZIP code.
Port Townsend police are requesting retailers to phone 360-385-2335 if they believe Lysiak used fraudulent checks or stolen credit cards at their business.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: February 13. 2013 6:21PM