PORT TOWNSEND — More than 100 pieces of mail belonging to more than 50 Port Townsend residents were recovered, police said, and the alleged thief now also has a bench warrant for failure to appear in court.
Colin David Darlington, 43, of Port Townsend was arrested on Jan. 14, after a witness reported him sitting in a vehicle looking though a pile of mail at about 5:45 a.m. in the 4100 block of Hill Street, according to the probable cause report by Port Townsend Police Officer Patrick Fudally.
Items stolen include credit and debit cards, insulin shots and a new passport, according to the Port Townsend Police Department.
The investigation has identified more than 50 victims of the theft, most from the 49th Street, Hill Street and 19th Street areas in Port Townsend, according to a press release from the police department.
Interim Police Chief Troy Surber said in a phone call Monday evening that the victims who were impacted by the theft will be contacted to work on the return of their property.
Darlington was charged on Jan. 15 with five counts of theft in the second degree-access device, a Class C felony, possession of another’s identification, a gross misdemeanor; and failure to transfer title within 45 days, a misdemeanor, by Jefferson County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Ashcraft, according to court documents.
Failure to appear
After being released on his own recognizance during the 15th hearing, Darlington failed to appear in court on Friday for an arraignment, leading Superior Court Judge Keith Harper to sign a $10,000 bench warrant to arrest Darlington, according to court documents.
As of Tuesday morning, the warrant remained outstanding.
Darlington was initially arrested for failure to transfer his vehicle’s title within 45 days (he bought the vehicle in October).
Upon inspection, several pieces of loose mail not addressed to him were seen in his car, officers said in the release.
After obtaining a search warrant, more than 100 pieces of mail were discovered, as well as suspected meth and heroin, said the release.
“I saw in the SUV, on the front passenger side floor board was a backpack that looked stuffed with items,” Fudally’s report said. “I asked Darlington about the backpack.”
“He stated it was his backpack. I told him I knew it was his backpack, my question was what was in it. Darlington was evasisve with his answers. In my experience often suspects become evasive while trying to conceal something.”
After being read his rights before the vehicle search, Darlington admitted to the theft and that the meth and heroin could be found in the vehicle, Fudally said.
Over the past several months, the police department has received numerous complaints regarding mail theft. The department reminded residents to check their mail daily, as most thefts are committed during the hours of darkness, according to the press release.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at email@example.com.