3 arrested in multi-county mail theft ring

There is another suspect that has not been identified

Lockridge, Oates, Welch

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three people have been arrested in connection to a mail theft ring that spans several Oregon counties.

The investigation started with a woman in Warren who reported 3 checks stolen from her mailbox and deposited into the account of a man named Rodney Oates. Investigators found 20 stolen checks had been deposited into that account between December 3, 2016 and January 3, 2017.

ATM cameras showed 4 different people accessing the account — Oates, Michael Welch, Charles Lockride III and an unidentified suspect.

Lockridge was taken into custody in St. Helens near his apartment.

Investigators found stolen mail and check stubs at Oates’ house and took him into custody. Welch was taken into custody after allegedly crashing a stolen car while intoxicated. More stolen mail was found inside the stolen truck.

The stolen mail belonged to people from Portland, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Scappoose, Warren, St. Helens and Columbia City. They will be contacted by deputies investigating the case.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s department said the suspects would look for checks in mail and deposit them at ATMs, then withdraw the cash.