Charges laid in mail theft

Police say bags of mail were found at a Surrey residence, much of it stolen from Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam residents

Charges have been laid against a Surrey couple in relation to a series of mail thefts that have plagued Tri-City residents for months.

Bags of mail and Canada Post materials stolen from community mailboxes and other residential mailboxes were recovered at a Surrey home Oct. 11 and a 49-year-old man and a 40-year-old women have been charged with multiple offences.

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It is not known whether all the mail seized has been returned to the owners but Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said some has been returned while other mail needed for evidence is being photographed and catalogued.

“The process of returning things has already started and it will continue,” said McLaughlin, who acknowledged that mail theft is a constant source of frustration and concern, with the recent charges likely relating to theft of mail in other Metro Vancouver cities as well.

He said Canada Post was a major part of the investigation.

“This was an effective inter-agency project and Canadian postal inspectors provided crucial expertise,” McLaughlin said in a press release. “Once a primary suspect was identified, the Coquitlam RCMP Prolific Target Team made the arrests and then used search warrants to gather a large amount of evidence.

"The suspects are believed to be responsible for a large number of identity and mail theft over an extended period.”

Heine Hut, who is well-known to police and Canada Post, is facing two counts of theft of mail, one count of unlawful use of a mail key, one count of possession of stolen mail, and two counts of possession of a stolen credit card.

Charlene Saar, who was arrested with Hut at his home in Surrey, is facing one count of theft of mail, one count of possession of stolen mail, one count of unlawful use of a mail key and two counts of a possession of a stolen credit card.

Mail theft is a common problem and police recommend people collect their mail daily, use Canada Post’s Hold Mail service to suspend delivery while away and file a change of address with Canada Post when moving as well as with banks and other financial institutions. As well, you can call Canada Post customer service at 1-800-267-1177 to report suspicious activity or if you believe your mail has not been delivered.

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