Police try to return mail taken by thieves

I was shocked at the recent story in the Mail Tribune about the identity theft ring that involved theft from 800 mailboxes. That has to be a lot of mail for the police to sift through for evidence.

Does the Medford Police Department hold onto that mail until the suspects go to trial? If it is tax documents, I assume the victims would want them sent off to the IRS as soon as possible.

— Trevor D., Medford

You're right, Trevor, the suspected mail theft ring that appeared on the May 4 Mail Tribune front page are accused of some serious crimes. According to a federal indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the five suspects had thousands of pieces of mail in their possession during the year-long crime spree.

Medford police Chief Tim George said investigators study the mail seized from the suspects, looking for evidence that the victims' identities were stolen. Once the investigation is concluded, the department works with the U.S. Postal Service to return any unopened mail to the victims.

"If the mail is opened, we will do what we can to contact the victim to return the mail to them," George said. "Sometimes we cannot locate people, so we will have the mail destroyed."

Mail thieves usually are looking for checks, credit card applications, tax forms and other sensitive personal documents.

According to the indictment, Eduardo Navarro and Dallas Lee Tedford were arrested on several charges including aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

A federal warrant was issued for the arrest of their alleged co-conspirators — Kayla Ann Strange, Lana Lorraine Marshall and Robert Powelson.

Marshall, 29, was arrested later Friday on charges of identity theft, possession of methamphetamine, second-degree forgery and failure to appear in court. She was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $23,000 bail.

They are all accused of stealing mail and the identifies of numerous Jackson County residents over the past year.

"We do what we can to get the mail back to them in a timely manner," George said. "However, these cases are usually complex and take some time to bring to a conclusion."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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