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5.5 Mohave County - Multiple law enforcement agencies nail mailbox thieves

The Bullhead City Police Department (BHCPD), the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) completed a joint operation Tuesday that resulted in the arrest of several Mohave Valley residents who were involved in damage to, and theft of mail from United States Post Office mail boxes and cluster boxes.

Since December 9th, 2009, there have been 87 break-ins to cluster mail boxes along Highway 95 between Needles and Bullhead City. Each cluster box contains between 16 and 50 individual mail slots and several larger parcel boxes. The USPIS has replaced 200 cluster boxes (including the damaged boxes) with higher security boxes at a cost of $197,000. USPIS has reported no break-ins to the higher security boxes thus far.

USPIS reported that since December 9th, between 30 and 40 citizens have reported theft of their mail. In February, USPIS followed up on a lead generated from an MCSO mail theft investigation. In that case, suspect(s) stole a credit card from the mail and then accumulated $1400 in fraudulent charges to the victim’s account. Police obtained video surveillance and then profiled the case and digital images in the media with a reward offering through Mohave Silent Witness. A tip from a citizen led to the identity of the suspect.

On May 4th, USPIS, BHCPD, and MCSO served a search warrant at a Mohave Valley home in the 10000 block of Driftwood Circle. Investigators recovered stolen mail, burglary tools, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia.

Marsha Renee Ward, 39, and John Allen Kemp, 34, were arrested and booked into the Mohave County Jail.

The burglary charge stems from the break-in at the Mohave Valley Post Office. Additional charging recommendations including possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia will be reviewed by the Mohave County Attorney’s Office.

Steven Smith, Lieutenant, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Bullhead City, 928-763-0147, 928-727-5979

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