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Police Nab Prolific Mail Theft Ring

Police think they have the suspects responsible for pilfering mail boxes and garbage cans from Independence to Portland.

INDEPENDENCE -- Police think they have the suspects responsible for pilfering mail boxes and garbage cans from Independence to Portland.

The three suspects stole a lot more than mail, Independence Police Sgt. Pete Roy said.

Most of the information was stolen from mail, Roy said. "You wouldn't believe all the mail we have."

The suspects -- Aaron Richards, Trevor Johnson and Craig Patterson -- allegedly used stolen account and routing numbers to write bad checks.

So far, said Roy, they were only using numbers. However, he suspects they were about to start using other people's names as well.

Police caught up with the trio early last week when they got a call about a forged check at BiMart in Monmouth. The check was written from a business account that no longer existed.

The suspects were arrested at the Dallas Public Library. Roy said they were using the library's computer and printer to print out forged checks.

Roy said the suspects had professional check paper as well as step-by-step instructions on how to rob people's identities. They allegedly also had a computer program detailing the process as well.

They were running the program on the library computer when they were arrested, Roy said.

All three suspects are in the Polk County Jail.

Richards, 18, is charged with first-degree forgery, first-degree possession of a forgery instrument, first-degree theft, first-degree conspiracy to commit theft, identity theft, possession of methamphetamine, first-degree attempted theft, mail theft and negotiating a bad check.

His name was allegedly on the check forged at WAL-MART.

Johnson, 27, is charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit theft and first-degree theft.

Patterson, 36, is charged with first-degree forgery, first-degree conspiracy to commit theft, identity theft and mail theft.

Patterson also had several outstanding Multnomah County warrants for drug possession and failure to appear.

Most of the charges are against the suspects are felonies.

Roy said the suspects are probably guilty of more crimes. Larger stores have scanners able to spot bad checks. However, people at smaller scores don't usually find out about bad checks until the following day.

People who have encountered the suspects are asked to call Roy at 503-838-1214. Potential victims might be able to remember Richards by the fact that he is a cross dresser, Roy said.

Independence police are already working with police in Monmouth and throughout Polk County to tie the suspects into other crimes.

More charges are likely to come out, Roy said.

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