SEQUIM — Five shopping bags of mail containing 600 separate letters stolen from 200 different addresses in Clallam County were recovered early Friday after sheriff’s deputies arrested a Sequim man, authorities said.
Scott James Haynes, 40, was taken into custody after he was found hiding beneath a travel trailer, deputies said, adding that he was found with an open-bladed knife in a sweatshirt pocket.
He was booked into the Clallam County jail for investigation of two counts of second-degree theft, identity theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a dangerous weapon and an outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license.
Haynes remained in jail Saturday with no bond set.
Sgt. Lyman Moores of the Sheriff’s Office said officers investigated a complaint of a vehicle driving from mailbox to mailbox in the 1500 block of Hooker Road at 3:52 a.m. Friday.
They traced the vehicle to an address in the 100 block of Frost Road, about a mile away, and saw what looked like stolen mail inside it.
Haynes was found beneath a trailer nearby. A subsequent search of a house on the property turned up the sacks of stolen mail in a trash can, Moores said.
It was given to U.S. Postal Inspector Anna Weller of the post office’s Seattle division to deliver to its intended recipients, he said.
A search under an additional warrant of Haynes’ home in the 300 block of South Solmar Drive in Sequim turned up what deputies said was more stolen mail, drug paraphernalia, a suspected stolen rifle and a homemade silencer made from a used oil filter.
Haynes also was booked for investigation of the unlawful use of a credit card that had been reported stolen two months earlier.
The mail theft was referred to postal authorities for possible federal charges.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said residents and business owners should check their mail daily, use a drop box or consider buying a locking mailbox to prevent theft.
If people suspect their mail may have been stolen, they should contact the U.S. Postal Service at 800-275-8777 or www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
Reporter James Casey can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.