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Two tied to ID theft cases
Investigators are busy sorting through piles of stolen mail and personal information recently discovered in a van.
Most of the information is from victims who live in Island, Snohomish and Skagit counties. Other victims are from as far away as Oregon and Texas.
Two women are in jail in connection to the stolen mail and personal information.
Amanda Songer and Melanie Baillie were charged Thursday with three counts of identity theft and seven counts of forgery. Baillie was also charged with possession of methamphetamine.
Both will be arraigned Friday, July 15.
Songer is being held on $250,000 bail while Baillie is being held on $250,000 bail. Baillies bail was originally $50,000, however a hearing Friday afternoon increased the bail.
They clearly have access to a lot of illegal money, Greg Banks, Island County prosecutor, said, adding the money could be easy to flee the area.
Banks said the investigation is ongoing and investigators are sorting through the recovered mail.
Bailie, 29, was arrested July 1 at a Midway Boulevard business trying to cash a check from an Oak Harbor-based painting company. Baillie and Songers names were also on forged checks that an Anacortes-based business owner reported earlier in the day, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Police also impounded a white Chevy Astro van that Bailee drove.
When Oak Harbor Police Sergeant Jerry Baker interviewed Bailee, she admitting to forging numerous checks and there were bags of mail and a printer in her van, he wrote. She also blamed most of the forgeries and thefts on Songer. She allowed a search of her van, according the affidavit.
As officers searched the van, they found mail, credit cards, boxes of checks, and identification belonging to people, most of whom lived in the Anacortes and Mount Vernon areas. In addition to the mail, officers also discovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia including several needles loaded for use, the report states.
Bailee was booked on numerous counts of forgery, theft, and possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Songer, 26, was arrested July 5 in Mount Vernon. She was suspected of forging a check on May 21 at a Highway 20 business in Oak Harbor. She was also connected to a case where someone opened a bank account, deposited a $1,000 credit card check and closed it several days later. A witness identified Songer as the person who opened the account, the report states.
Oak Harbor Police Detective Cedric Niiro went to the Mount Vernon Police Department to assist. Social Security numbers, account numbers and computer generated checks were found in Songers car.
Songer was arrested for forgery and identity theft and transported to the Oak Harbor jail.
With the arrest of Songer and Bailee, officials are now identifying and contacting victims.
Its going to be a pain for them no matter what, Baker said, because many victims will have to close bank accounts and cancel credit cards.
Baker said that even though more than 200 victims have been identified, more will be discovered in the coming days. He added that postal inspectors are helping sort through the piles of mail and will help contact identified victims.