Port Townsend merchants file bad-check complaints

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Five merchants have filed complaints saying they suspect they received fraudulent checks from a Port Townsend man charged with stealing mail from mailboxes in several counties, including Jefferson and Clallam.

Safeway in Port Townsend, Henery’s Hardware, Don’s Pharmacy, The Pennysaver and Westbay Auto have filed complaints, said Port Townsend Officer Luke Bogues on Tuesday.

The merchants believe they received fraudulent checks from Adam Justin Lysiak, who is charged with 12 counts of second-degree possession of stolen property and one count of possession of stolen mail.

That information was expected to be part of a public service announcement that police filmed Tuesday and which was scheduled to be posted by that evening on the city of Port Townsend’s website at www.cityofpt.us.

Police arrested Lysiak, 38, on Feb. 12. He will be arraigned on the charges at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Lysiak remained Tuesday in the Jefferson County jail on $250,000 bail.

Bogues said the stolen mail found in Lysiak’s Port Townsend apartment, is about evenly distributed from Jefferson and Kitsap counties, with a few other pieces from Clallam, Pierce and King counties.

Bogues has said that police believe Lysiak used stolen checks in Port Townsend.

Passports, credit cards and checks were found in the mail, Bogues said, and police confiscated several fake licenses in various stages of development along with the printer and paper used to create the facsimiles.

In the video, Bogues updated the public about the case while providing instructions for the crime’s victims.

Among the instructions:

--   Those who suspect that their mail has been stolen should wait to hear from police until the stolen mail has being sorted and catalogued.

Victims could be contacted as soon as the end of this week. Bogues said.

“There are thousands of pieces of mail currently being processed as evidence in this case.” Bogues said was scripted to say in the video.

“We anticipate identifying hundreds, if not in excess of a thousand, individuals who had their mail stolen.”

About 1,000 pounds of mail were confiscated during Lysiak’s arrest.

Bogues said that after the junk mail has been filtered out, about 10,000 pieces of mail remain.

After sorting it into regions and by victim each piece of mail is being entered into a spreadsheet, Bogues said.

--   Business owners who suspect that Lysiak used fraudulent checks or stolen credit cards at their shops are asked to contact the department with evidence such as cancelled checks or surveillance footage.

Merchants with information are requested to call Bogues or Detective Jason Greenspane at 360-385-2322 during business hours.

In the video message Bogues recommends five things that people can do to protect themselves from mail and identity theft:

--   Check mail as soon as possible after it is delivered by the postal service.

--   Purchase a secure locking mailbox that requires a key to open.

--   Obtain a post office box at a U.S. Post Office or at a shipping and packaging retailer offering mailbox services.

Many post offices and retailers offer 24-hour access to post office boxes.

--   Opt for electronic delivery of sensitive financial documents when available.

-- Use strong passwords and follow best practices for ensuring emails are authentic.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 19. 2013 6:12PM
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