ALOHA, Ore. (KOIN) — Alert Washington County deputies arrested 2 women believed to be involved in mail and identity theft, authorities said.
A witness in Aloha called to report his neighbor’s mail being stolen just before 10 a.m. Saturday. He said 2 people were in a Ford Windstar van and provided the license plate number.
“He saw them at the mailbox and knew they didn’t belong there,” David Thompson with Washington County Sheriff’s Office told KOIN 6 News. “[He] kind of said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ and then they took off. They actually dropped some of the mail as the person was running away.”
About a half-hour later, deputies spotted the van along SW Tualatin Valley Highway around 174th. During the traffic stop that followed, they discovered stolen mail from 14 houses, 4 different Oregon ID cards, 9 different credit cards and a stolen .380 caliber handgun.
Heather Lamoreaux, 33, and Christina Espinoza, 37, were arrested.
Lamoreaux faces 2 counts of mail theft and one count each of theft, unlawful possession of a firearm and identity theft. Espinoza is charged with 2 counts of mail theft, being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon and is being held on a probation violation.
More charges are likely as the investigation continues.
Investigators say, while mail fraud might seem like a thing of the past, it’s not. It’s especially important to protect yourself and your identity around the holidays.
“Get a locking mailbox… make sure you collect your mail everyday,” Thompson said. “Those locking mailboxes can be pried open, although we find it’s a good deterrent, it’s kind of like locking your car.”