Alleged mail bandit arrested

Man accused of forging checks

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles-area man suspected in a string of mailbox thefts from Port Angeles to Poulsbo has been arrested for investigation of seven charges, including vehicle prowl, theft, identity theft and possession of stolen mail.

When apprehended by Lower Elwha tribal police on Wednesday, Michael Thomas Riley, 33, had been out of jail since Sept. 26 on $1,000 bail on Clallam County charges of forgery and possession of stolen checks, according to court records.

Riley, who lives off state Highway 112 directly south of Salt Creek Recreation Area, was back in the county jail Friday on $25,000 bail awaiting his first court appearance on the newest alleged offenses.

Riley was arrested for investigation of breaking a vehicle’s window and allegedly stealing a Leatherman multipurpose tool, a set of rain gear, the vehicle owner’s credit card and about $200 in cash, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.

He allegedly used the credit card to buy $186.50 worth of items from a local auto parts store.

Sheriff’s deputies searching his vehicle found a receipt from the auto parts store where the items were purchased, a Leatherman multipurpose tool and a set of rain gear suspected of belonging to the victim.

They discovered several pieces of mail, checks and prescription medication with other people’s names and address, according to the press release.

Sixty-six pieces of mail items dating to October were recovered with addresses originating in Port Angeles and Sequim in Clallam County, Port Ludlow in Jefferson County, and Poulsbo, Kingston and Suquamish in Kitsap County.

Deputies could not be reached Friday for information on the circumstances surrounding Riley’s arrest and how many residential and business address were affected by the thefts.

Riley was convicted in 2013 of first-degree theft, second-degree theft, trafficking in stolen property, injury hit-and-run and forgery, according to Clallam County Superior Court records.

He has pending cases against him on charges of second-degree assault and injury hit-and-run, according to an Oct. 27 court filing on his criminal history.

In his most recent case, Riley was charged July 9 with forgery and second-degree possession of stolen property in a case involving $675 from the bank account of a Port Angeles woman deposited into Riley’s Chase bank account that Riley allegedly forged, with “gold” on the memo line, according to the probable cause statement.

Under a Nov. 12 amended criminal information in the case, additional forgery and possession of stolen property charges were filed against Riley involving the account of a different Port Angeles couple.

A check for $200 was stolen from the mailbox of the recipient, according to the supplemental probable cause statement. The amount was changed to $800, the signature was forged, and the check was deposited into Riley’s bank account.

Riley could be imprisoned up to five years and fined $10,000 on each of the four charges filed in the Nov. 12 amended information.

According to Riley’s offender score, filed Oct. 27, he could serve 14-18 months on each charge.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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