Cops bust Edmonton mail theft ring, lay 90 charges against 9
EDMONTON – In a major sweep, Edmonton cops have rounded up nine suspects who are thought to be behind a mail and identity theft ring.
The group of suspected thieves face a total of 90 identity and fraud charges. Police said they stole mail all over Edmonton starting in 2009.
“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,” said Det. Calvin Mah. “The stolen mail was then used to commit identity theft and fraud.”
“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,” said 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 and trafficking in government identity documents, 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,” said 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.” said McKay. “This goes to show the importance of partnerships and cooperation in fighting crime in our communities.”