“With help from Canada Post, all the EPS Divisions and other police agencies, we were able to identify suspects in connection with a large majority of these mail box break-ins and thefts of mail in the city dating back to last year,” says Det. Calvin Mah of Southwest Division CIS. “The stolen mail was then used to commit identity theft and fraud.”
The EPS, Canada Post and the Edmonton Apartment Association are holding a media availability this afternoon at 2 p.m. at Police Headquarters, 9620-103A Ave. Several of the stolen items will be on display.
The EPS began an extensive investigation led by Det. Mah in November 2009 into organized activity by several suspects. It’s believed the majority of the mail was stolen from mail boxes at apartment complexes. The thefts occurred during the day, evening and overnight.
“To help prevent theft and identity fraud, the EPS encourages citizens to be diligent about checking their mail box on a regular basis and remove its contents right after it has been delivered,” says Det. Mah.
Recent changes to the criminal code pertaining to fraud and theft from mail have allowed police to lay criminal charges against the accused. The charges include: theft from mail, conspiracy to commit, possessing/trafficking in government identity documents, use/trafficking/possession of forged document, identity theft – obtain/possess information, identity fraud, unauthorized possession of credit card data, possession of stolen credit card, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and break and enter.
The following individuals were charged in connection with the thefts and fraud: Brad Waselenchuk, 31; Christine Kusick, 28; Michelle Racicot, 26; Michael Racicot, 24; Ryan Sopher, 23; Ryan Roberts, 29; Jonathan Widlake, 37; Erin Cameron, 25; Tasker Williams, 18.
“At Canada Post we take the security of mail very seriously,” says Postal Inspector Dennis McKay. “We value our relationship with the Edmonton Police Service and are pleased with their cooperation and the thorough investigation which led to these arrests.”
“Immediately following the arrests we noticed a drop in the number of break-ins and thefts from apartment mailboxes.” explains McKay. “This goes to show the importance of partnerships and cooperation in fighting crime in our communities.”