Two arrested after break-in at Arlington post office

ARLINGTON — Police and U.S. postal inspectors are investigating two men in connection with a Thursday night break-in at the U.S. Post Office.

It was not a particularly sophisticated heist.

One of the suspects was found sleeping under a blanket beneath a covered porch outside a local church. Near his head was a grocery bag full of more than 100 pieces of stolen mail, court records said. Nearby was opened mail that included blank and pre-written bank checks as well as credit cards. Beside him was a foot-long pry bar police believe was used to open 101 post office boxes Thursday night.

In his pockets was a book of blank checks and Visa credit cards in other peoples’ names, according to court records.

Police arrested the suspect, 25, and another man, 21, on Thursday for investigation of mail theft, possessing stolen mail and unlawful possession of payment instruments, such as checks.

The older suspect told police he recently had been using heroin.

The men also are being investigated in connection with break-ins at the Arlington post office Feb. 15 and March 3.

In the first burglary, someone broke into 17 post office boxes and eight parcel boxes. The second burglary involved nine parcel boxes.

The post office burglaries don’t appear to be connected to a post office break-in in Sultan last month, officials said.

Investigators believe that someone broke in through an employee area in the back of the U.S. Post Office in Sultan on the night of Feb. 14 or morning of Feb. 15. Several items were thrown around and damaged and some packages were opened.

“We don’t suspect they are tied together,” U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesman Dave Schroader said.

In the Sultan case, a reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for an arrest and conviction. The telephone number for tips is 877-876-2455.

Post office break-ins are rare, particularly when compared to overall mail theft, and they can be charged as a federal crime, Schroader said.

Federal and Snohomish County prosecutors will have to decide how to proceed with the Arlington cases, he said.

The investigation is continuing.

“We want to make sure all the players have been identified,” Schroader said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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