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Alleged mail thief favored Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and Port Townsend in mail theft spree

By RICHARD D. OXLEY
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
February 26, 2013 · Updated 10:19 AM
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Bainbridge Island was among the top three regions hit by a mail theft spree that is now a major crime case in Jefferson County.

Adam J. Lysiak, 38, was arrested Feb. 12 after Port Townsend police received a tip Lysiak was in the area and allegedly engaged in identity theft. Police found more than 1,000 pounds of stolen mail in Lysiak's Port Townsend apartment, and Lysiak was already wanted by four other Washington agencies for charges relating to theft and identity theft.

Detectives have removed a large portion of advertisements from the piles of mail recovered from Lysiak's apartment. The remaining evidence indicates that Lysiak targeted mailboxes near his home and allegedly stole a bulk of mail — 339 residents — from Port Townsend where he was living.

It was only the second highest region where he allegedly stole mail, however.

Poulsbo has the highest number of recovered mail with 406 residents affected so far. Bainbridge Island came in third with 146 residents who had mail stolen.

One Poulsbo resident that Port Townsend police are working with has already has lost $3,000 due to the mail and identity theft. After a string of fraudulent purchases in his name, the resident's name was flagged by loss prevention departments at Safeway, Khols and other businesses, said Port Townsend Police Officer Luke Bogues.

Bogues also noted that they have recovered more than 60 pieces of mail for one Kitsap resident alone.

Detectives still have a small amount of mail to sort through and expect the numbers to change slightly.

So far, 2,967 pieces of mail, encompassing 1,223 victims, have been inventoried by Port Townsend police.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is mailing notices to victims this week. It is asking victims to fill out an informational form and return it.

The stolen mail may eventually be returned to the intended owners, but it is currently being held as evidence.

Police said they have been able to link Lysiak to stolen checks used at six Port Townsend businesses, and more in Kitsap County where he also allegedly used stolen credit cards and gifts cards.

Lysiak remains in jail on $250,000 bail. He is charged with 12 counts of second-degree possession of stolen property and one count of possession of stolen mail. Authorities said he was found in possession of a variety of financial and personal information that could be used for identity theft, in addition to passports, checkbooks, credit cards and gift cards.

Port Townsend police officials expect more charges to be added. Officials also said that discussions are underway with federal prosecutors, who may take the case to U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Inventoried mail spans 11 counties and 35 cities, including places as far away as Snoqualmie in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and Wenatchee in Chelan County.

Police expect the number of places where mail was stolen to grow once the final pieces of mail are sorted.

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