USPS halted deliveries in zip code 98118 for about a week, affecting deliveries to more than 15,000 addresses in the Seattle area, while law enforcement chased a thief who stole postal vehicles and postal keys.
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The DOJ confirmed it finally caught Johny Mixayboua, 27, who is accused of a string of mail theft incidents involving stolen postal vehicles, stolen postal keys, mail theft, and associated crimes such as identity theft.
According to the criminal complaint, an incident occurred on December 28, 2022, involving the theft of a USPS vehicle from the 6300 block of South Bangor Street in Seattle.
Inside the stolen vehicle was a postal key to access the cluster mailbox units within the 98178 zip code area. This key grants postal workers the ability to unlock the back of the cluster box to deliver mail to multiple households.
After the vehicle and key theft, multiple instances had been reported regarding the unauthorized opening of cluster boxes and subsequent theft of mail within the 98178 zip code.
With assistance from neighbors, the Postal Inspection Service obtained door camera footage capturing the individual accessing the postal boxes.
Neighbors reported instances of stolen credit cards and subsequent attempts to utilize them. Upon reviewing the images of the credit card incidents, inspectors successfully identified Mixayboua as the culprit responsible for the mail theft and the attempted use of the stolen credit cards.
But That Was Just the Beginning of the USPS Thefts
Local law enforcement discovered additional postal vehicles involved in several other mail theft incidents.
On January 17, 2023, two additional USPS vehicles were stolen, one from the 3000 block of Beach Drive SW and the other from the 3600 block of 57th SW, both falling within the 98116 zip code.
Again, through the use of doorbell camera footage from the respective blocks, investigators reportedly observed Mixayboua approaching the mail truck where one of the stolen vehicles was recovered.
Allegedly, the footage showed Mixayboua removing mail and packages from the stolen postal vehicle and transferring them into another vehicle.
Law enforcement once again tracked down credit cards stolen from the mail and acquired surveillance footage that seemingly depicted Mixayboua attempting to make purchases using the stolen credit cards.
On January 30, 2023, a fourth USPS postal vehicle was stolen from the 2000 block of S. Columbian Way in Seattle. And on March 28, 2023, a fifth USPS postal vehicle was stolen from the 5700 block of S. 129th Ave. Again, one individual associated with the theft matched the description of Mixayboua.
During the late January and February period, incidents of mail theft persisted, this time in the Snoqualmie, Washington area. The cluster boxes were accessed using either counterfeit or genuine postal keys. Once again, credit cards were stolen, and one of them was linked to images depicting Mixayboua making purchases at Target.
Throughout April, mail thefts persisted, spanning from as far north as Lake Forest Park to as far south as southeast Seattle.
This is when USPS halted deliveries in zip code 98118 for about a week while investigators worked to track down and arrest Mixayboua.
During this time, Seattle residents in the affected zip code had to pick up mail at a local post office, standing in long lines, while investigators chased down Mixayboua and any co-conspirators.
DOJ only confirmed the arrest of Mixayboua, so it’s a bit unclear if any other individuals have been arrested. During a court appearance on Wednesday, Mixayboua was remanded to custody, with a detention hearing scheduled for May 31.
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