PORT HADLOCK — An Anacortes man has been arrested for investigation of stolen mail after he was found with about 70 pieces addressed to 21 different Port Townsend-area addresses, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.
Justin Theodore Watts, 32, was initially charged in Jefferson County Superior Court on Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine, a Class C felony.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Ashcraft said Thursday his office plans to file additional charges next week for stolen mail.
“We take these cases seriously because they can have a lasting impact on the victims through credit card fraud, et cetera,” Ashcraft said.
“But these cases are complicated to charge because you need to show possession of stolen mail from three or more addresses and 10 separate pieces of mail.”
Watts, who remained in the Jefferson County jail on $26,560 bond Thursday, is scheduled to appear in court for a status conference at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27.
A sheriff’s deputy was responding to a burning complaint at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of Cedar Avenue in Port Hadlock when he discovered three people asleep in a nearby car, according to court documents.
After the deputy directed two people who were burning a chair to put the fire out, he approached the separate vehicle and recognized at least two of the people inside.
Watts was in the backseat, clutching a backpack in his lap, according to court documents.
A piece of mail belonging to someone not in the car was located, and the deputy applied for a search warrant, documents stated.
The search produced about 70 pieces of mail, almost all of which came from the backpack Watts was holding, according to court documents.
Most of the mail was addressed to residences in the North Beach area, according to the documents.
One gram of methamphetamine also was found in the backpack, and an additional 1.16 grams of meth was found in a bag in the trunk that belonged to a second suspect, court documents stated.
“When you have a case with lots of stolen mail, you have to sort it all out into groups of three victims and 10 pieces of mail,” Ashcraft said.
“JCSO did a good job of getting that all together, and now we have to do our part and file the rest of the charges.”
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].