Attorneys seek to have mail theft case tried in Jefferson County

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Attorneys in a high-profile mail theft case involving several counties want to consolidate it so that it is tried only in Jefferson County, a deputy prosecuting attorney said.

Adam Justin Lysiak, 38, is charged with 12 counts of stolen property in the second degree and one count of possession of stolen mail. He remained in the Jefferson County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail Sunday.

Port Townsend police say that mail stolen from at least 1,319 people in 11 counties was found in Lysiak's Port Townsend apartment when he was arrested Feb. 12.

Attorneys for both sides agreed to contact prosecutors in all jurisdictions from where the mail was found and ask if they are willing to forego prosecution in favor of trying the entire case in Jefferson County, Jefferson County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Ashcraft said Friday.

“Both sides feel that it is best to resolve all the cases in the same place,” Ashcraft said. “We want to avoid finishing the case here and then having to try it again in another jurisdiction.”

Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper has continued the trial, which was set to begin April 15, until the end of June to provide time to gather the needed information, Ashcraft said.

Ben Critchlow, Lysiak's attorney, did not immediately return a call requesting comment last week.

Federal and state authorities also will be contacted to see if they plan to prosecute, Ashcraft said, adding that no decision was reached during a March 13 conference call among state, federal and county prosecutorial authorities.

In addition to the Port Townsend police, U.S. Postal Service and the Secret Service have been involved in the investigation.

Port Townsend Officer Luke Bogues said the department's inventory of mail found in Lysiak's home found the largest number of victims, 696, were Kitsap County residents.

A total of 499 were from Jefferson County, with 346 were from Port Townsend.

Three victims were identified in Clallam County, all in Sequim.

Mail also was found from the counties of King, Pierce, Thurston, Skagit, Mason, Snohomish, Clark and Chelan counties.

Lysiak eventually could be charged with more than 100 felonies, Bogues has said, since each 10 pieces of mail potentially could be the basis for two Class C felonies: theft of mail and possession of stolen mail.

Police believe Lysiak took mail from mailboxes as he traveled at night between Poulsbo and Port Townsend, using “smash and grab” tactics in which everything was taken from mailboxes and set aside for later examination.

Bogues said that Lysiak stole checks and cashed them using manufactured identification, either cashing the checks outright or using them to buy merchandise.

Port Townsend police are still collecting evidence and investigators have visited several of the victims in Kitsap County, Bogues said, adding that it is more efficient for his department to do the legwork than to work with Kitsap law enforcement to gather the information.

He said he is spending his patrol hours working on the case and has not logged any recent overtime.

“We are telling people the documents they need to file in order to help us with the case, such as bank statements that show a financial loss,” Bogues said.

“On Bainbridge Island, many of the people are grateful when we contact them,” he said.

“Mail theft has been an ongoing problem there and the people we contact are grateful that something is being done.”

Those who think they may have been victimized by a mail theft can send Bogues an e-mail at lbogues@cityofpt.us with the case number 13-1063 in the subject line.



Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 24. 2013 6:07PM
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