‘Bait’ package leads to arrest of suspected thief

Police and federal agents stopped an alleged Oak Harbor Grinch who was trying to steal Christmas from a few families last week.

The U.S. Postal Service worked with Oak Harbor police officers to catch a mail thief by using a package with a tracker inside as bait, according to court documents.

Postal Inspector John Wiegand said the federal office was targeting mail thieves in the city this week because of a high number of complaints. The federal agents are also running operations in five other cities across the state this week.

Postal inspectors staged a bait parcel containing a GPS tracker on the porch of a home on Northwest Scenic Vista Street. Just before 1:30 a.m. Dec. 18, the parcel starting moving.

An Oak Harbor police officer responded to the area and saw a man carrying a white package with a handle.

The officer stopped the man, who was identified as 30-year-old Christopher B. Masters, and affirmed that he was carrying the bait package, according to the officer’s report.

The package contained electronics valued at $1,000, which makes the theft a felony.

The officers also found three checks and a debit card that belonged to other people, as well as a Girls Scouts supply voucher, in Masters’ jacket pocket, the report indicates.

The officers contacted the owners of the checks and debit cards; one woman said she had been waiting for the check because she didn’t have any money for Christmas, the report states.

Postal inspectors are also hoping to obtain a search warrant to look through Masters’ backpack.

Masters appeared in Island County Superior Court Dec. 18 and the judge found probable cause existed to believe he committed the crimes of theft in the first agree, possession of stolen property in the first degree and possession of stolen property in the second degree. His bail was set at $10,000.

Wiegand said the purpose of the anti-porch theft operations is not only to catch the bad guys but to prevent mail theft from happening in the first place.

More in News

Council looks to state rep for help with ferry woes

State Rep. Dave Paul was invited to a Langley city council meeting to speak about recent ferry cuts.

Service temporarily restored to Clinton-Mukilteo ferry route

Despite major slashes, the first weekend of an abridged ferry schedule saw some pleasant surprises.

Tides presentation set for Oct. 20

Phyllis Woolwine, president of Shearwater University, will deliver a presentation Oct. 20.

Kurt Blankenship, left, and James Golder.
Hospital candidates talk staff retention, compensation

Candidates for the WhidbeyHealth board of commissioners talked about improving employee retention.

Vasquez speaks via Zoom during his clemency hearing.
Commutation reduces sentence in 1998 crime spree

Rogelio Vasquez’s extraordinary redemption story culminated when the governor signed a commutation.

Beluga last sighted near Whidbey

The beluga whale that first made an appearance in Puget Sound two weeks ago seems to have moved on.

See caption
Deer Lagoon Grange considered ‘distinguished’

The Deer Lagoon Grange was acknowledged as a 2020-2021 Distinguished Grange for its accomplishments.

Woman files lawsuit against alleged child rapist

The woman filed a complaint for damages against her former stepfather 73-year-old Charles Ringer Jr.

Coupeville employees to receive COVID premium pay

From Nov. 1 through the end of December, town employees will receive an extra $15 per hour.

Most Read