Seattle police say they have arrested four people in connection with a months-long crime spree that included burglaries, car prowls, mail theft and identity theft.
Seattle police say that since summer, the four suspects stole packages from the porches of North Seattle homes. One woman told police that unwrapping the stolen packages was “like opening Christmas presents,” police said.
Police got their first major break on Sept. 11 when officers and Department of Corrections community corrections staff went to a townhouse in the University District to arrest a 26-year-old woman on a felony warrant. Police found a stolen car parked outside her home and called in officers from the Major Crimes Task Force. Once inside the home, officers found about 100 stolen packages “containing everything from ceiling fans to strollers, all in their original packaging,” police said.
Police drove away from the house with two department SUVs packed with stolen goods.
Investigators said they found duffel bags filled with stolen mail, more than 70 ID cards, credit cards, passports and $37,000 in fraudulent checks. The mail was addressed to at least 180 people. Officers found books and ledgers tracking the thefts, as well as pages of victim information — dates of birth, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers. Personal profiles of the victims had been created using stolen mail, police said.
Using that information, the suspects were opening credit card accounts in victims’ names, police said.
The 26-year-old woman and her 34-year-old boyfriend were part of a larger crime ring, according to police. The couple allegedly told officers about a man and a 31-year-old woman who were also involved.
In a news release posted by Seattle police on Wednesday, media relations staff said the group “made crime a full-time job, stealing mail or breaking into homes, seven days a week over the last two or three months.”
Four days after arresting the 26-year-old woman and her boyfriend, police located the 31-year-old woman in a homeless encampment in the University District.
With the suspect, police found 200 pounds of copper wire, believed to have been stolen from the Museum of History and Industry.
Police searched for the remaining suspect, a 25-year-old man, and on Sept. 6 arrested him in a stolen car in the Chinatown-International District. The man is under investigation in connection with a string of recent burglaries on the University of Washington’s Greek Row, police said.
“These arrests should drastically reduce property crimes” in the area, said Coordinated Criminal Investigations Captain Eric Sano.
Police say they are still taking inventory of the stolen items. Investigators have not yet released a phone number for possible victims to call so they can report stolen items.