Crime

Attempted child rape. Mail theft. Stolen credit cards. This ‘Net Nanny’ suspect has 5 active cases

The charges for unrelated crimes keep piling up against a Pasco man arrested in a July 2017 online child sex sting in the Tri-Cities.

Lucas F. Beach, 40, has yet to go to trial on three sex crimes from the “Net Nanny Operation.”

He was arrested one week ago on a $200,000 warrant after missing a court hearing on the older case, and remains locked up in the Benton County jail. He previously had been out on $50,000 bond.

Now, Beach has two separate cases in Benton County Superior Court for first-degree identity theft.

In both, he allegedly used stolen credit cards to charge up thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases, including a Valentine’s Day 2018 shopping spree at a jewelry store and other Tri-Cities retailers.

Beach has five active felony cases in the Tri-Cities dating to May 25, 2017. He has pleaded innocent to all of them.

Cards stolen from mailbox

It appears from court documents that there may be a connection between the identity thefts in Benton County and a case Beach has in Franklin County for mailbox theft.

The most recent victim reported that two credit cards, which were stolen from her mailbox, were used multiple times Feb. 23 at the Richland Walmart and Smoke City For Less in Richland.

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Residents of a Pasco neighborhood reported finding the passenger of a truck reaching into mailboxes on Dec. 24 and driving off with their mail. Lacey Police Department Courtesy

Documents show one of the cards had two charges for $933 and one for $730, all at Walmart. A card also was used at the smoke shop for $239.

A Richland police officer went to both businesses later that day and learned all of the transactions were by the same man and were captured on surveillance video, court documents said.

Beach was identified as the suspect, documents said. That case was filed March 11.

Valentine’s Day shopping spree

The other identity theft case, filed in January, involves about $4,000 in charges on Feb. 14, 2018.

That card’s owner called Kennewick police when he discovered the fraudulent purchases. They included $217 at Zales, $268 at Vans, and $467 and $1,159 at Target, court documents show.

The owner also found a separate charge at the Richland Target and reported that to Richland police. He told investigators that Beach did not have permission to possess his credit card or to use it, documents said.

Neighbors report mail theft

In Franklin County Superior Court, Beach was charged this January for allegedly driving a truck Dec. 24 while his female passenger leaned out the window and took mail from mailboxes.

Neighbors saw them in the act, and one person tried to follow them while another later picked Beach from a photo lineup of six men, according to court documents.

Sheriff’s deputies could not determine how much mail was taken, but they also got security camera footage from nearby homes to help identify the suspect vehicle, documents said.

Beach also is charged with two counts of third-degree assault for fighting with two Pasco police officers, trying to remove a pistol from an officer’s belt and spitting blood on two officers when they tried to arrest him on a warrant for a probation violation, court documents said.

3 ‘Net Nanny’ charges

That was in May 2017, six weeks before Beach was one of 26 men picked up in an operation targeting would-be perpetrators looking for sex with minors through online advertisements.

In conversations with an undercover detective, Beach claimed he wanted to have sex with a teen girl and her friend. He later told police he planned to tell the runaway to go back home, documents said.

He is charged with attempted second-degree rape of a child, commercial sex abuse of a minor and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

In addition to $200,000 on the child sex case, Beach has $35,000 bail on the new identity theft case and $50,000 on the older one. He also now has no-bail holds ordered this past week in the Franklin County cases.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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