Victims of massive mail theft operation being notified
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“The letters have gone out, and people should start receiving them this week,” said Port Townsend Police Officer Luke Bogues, who is leading the investigation along with Detective Jason Greenspane.
Adam Justin Lysiak, 38 — who was arrested at his Port Townsend home Feb. 12 and subsequently charged with 12 counts of stolen property in the second degree and one count of possession of stolen mail — remained in the Jefferson County jail Wednesday in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Lysiak pleaded not guilty Feb. 22. His trial is set for April 15-18 and April 22-28.
Currently, the case is being prosecuted by the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, though discussions are under way on whether federal prosecutors possibly will be moving the case to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma, Bogues said.
Bogues said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is sending those identified as having been victims of mail theft an envelope with information and a brief report form asking each recipient to respond in writing.
Stolen mail eventually may be returned to rightful owners, but at this time, it is considered evidence in a criminal investigation and cannot be returned, Bogues said.
After advertisements and other bulk mail items were removed from the 1,000 pounds of stolen mail police said they confiscated from Lysiak’s apartment, police catalogued 2,967 pieces of mail and identified 1,223 victims — most living off the North Olympic Peninsula.
Police spent more than a week cataloguing each piece of mail by location and victim, determining that Kitsap County, with 683 pieces, had the largest theft amount.
They identified 433 pieces from Jefferson County and three from Sequim, the only mail found from Clallam County.
Nineteen pieces of mail were from King County, 12 from Pierce, eight from Thurston, two from Skagit and one each from Mason, Snohomish, Clark and Chelan counties.
Bogues said, “It’s not necessarily believed that Lysiak traveled to those locations to steal mail.”
Police believe Lysiak took mail from mailboxes as he traveled at night between Poulsbo and Port Townsend.
Bogues has described the thefts as “smash and grab,” in which everything was taken from mailboxes and set aside for later examination.
Bogues added that police have found credit cards, checkbooks, fake identification cards, passports, receipts and other paperwork.
“We have probably about another week worth of evidence processing to go,” he said.
“We’re comfortable with these numbers being pretty reflective of what our final total will be.”
Bogues said one victim, a Poulsbo man, was victimized in the amount of $3,000, the total amount of money from fraudulent checks that were written on his account.
To cash or write checks, Lysiak would create a driver’s license with his photograph but the name and address of the victim, police said.
Computer equipment and cellphones seized during Lysiak’s arrest have been turned over to the U.S. Secret Service for forensic examination, Bogues said.
Bogues said people who want to protect themselves against mail theft should install locking mailboxes or be sure to collect the mail shortly after it is delivered.
Additional charges are anticipated, Bogues said.
When he was arrested, Lysiak was wanted by the Department of Corrections for escaping from community custody in Federal Way.
He originally had been convicted in King County on charges of identity theft, possession of stolen property and possession of fraudulent bank checks.
He has a history of drug abuse and resisting arrest, according to Department of Corrections records.
Police also are investigating reports that link Lysiak to the use of stolen checks at at least six Port Townsend businesses and other stores in Kitsap County.
Merchants with information are asked to call Bogues or Greenspane at 360-385-2322 during business hours.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: February 27. 2013 6:07PM