KENNEWICK -- The Grinch might be hitting mailboxes around Kennewick trying to ruin Christmas for unsuspecting people.
There has been an increase in the number of mail theft incidents being reported in Kennewick this past week, and authorities said it could be suspects hoping to come across Christmas cash or gift cards.
There also is an opportunity for thieves to obtain information that could be used for identity theft, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police crime prevention specialist.
The mail thefts have taken place in multiple locations around town, he said. One incident was reported around 45th Avenue and Vancouver Street, while another happened behind the mall off of Deschutes Avenue.
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On Thursday, two garbage bags full of mail were found tossed on the street, he said. The bags contained mostly junk mail, but the mail belonged about 10 people, Blatman told the Herald.
Blatman said residents can follow a few simple tips to make it harder for thieves to swipe their mail.
Cash and coins never should be sent in the mail, he said. Checks and money orders are recommended.
Mail should be promptly removed from mailboxes after delivery, especially if checks, credit cards, food stamps or negotiable items are expected.
Folks heading away on vacation can asked the Postal Service to hold their mail.
People sending checks or gift cards should drop it off at a secure mailbox or hand it to the letter carrier, Blatman said.
He also recommends starting a neighborhood watch program and for people to call police immediately if a mail theft is spotted.
Those who have been targeted by mail thieves should report it immediately to local law enforcement and their local postmaster. Blatman said a formal complaint form will have to be filled out, but it can help postal inspectors determine if it is an isolated incident or part of a larger theft problem in the area.
Crime Stoppers seek help to identify fraud suspect
KENNEWICK -- Kennewick police and Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers are seeking the public's help identifying a man suspected of cashing several counterfeit checks in the area.
The checks, which appear to be payroll checks from a Wenatchee business, were cashed at multiple locations around Kennewick on Nov. 28-29.
Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers pays a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that results in a felony arrest.
Anyone with information about the suspect can call 586-8477 or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org. Tips can also be sent by text message by writing "Text TIP 411" plus the message to CRIMES (274637).
All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.
Hermiston man hurt while on Highway 395
KENNEWICK -- A Hermiston man was hurt Friday after a semi-truck hit his car at a stoplight on Highway 395 at Hildebrand Road in Kennewick, the Washington State Patrol said.
The 3:20 p.m. crash occurred when Felipe Lopez, 57, changed lanes in front of the southbound semi while they were approaching the light, then braked at the light in front of the semi-truck, troopers said.
Harpreet S. Bains, 25, of Yuba City, Calif., was not able to stop and collided with Lopez's 1995 Honda Accord, troopers said.
Lopez and Bains were treated at Kennewick General Hospital.
Troopers said the crash was caused by Lopez's unsafe lane change.
Famous Dave's barbecue, Crime Stoppers team up
KENNEWICK -- Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers is hoping there are crime fighters in the community who like barbecue.
They have teamed up with Famous Dave's, a barbecue restaurant by the Columbia Center mall in Kennewick, to raise some money for the Crime Stoppers reward fund.
All crime fighters have to do is download a special flier from Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at http://bit.ly/s1TMvT and take it with them for lunch or dinner Monday through Thursday at Famous Dave's.
For each diner who presents the flier to their server, Famous Dave's will make a donation to Crime Stoppers.
Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization, and all rewards and administrative costs are paid by Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards of up to $1,000 information that results in the arrest for any felony crimes or apprehension of wanted felons.
* Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org