Stolen mail and a stolen vehicle led to the arrest of three Milwaukee residents suspected in taking bills and other items from mail boxes in Brookfield and Menomonee Falls.
The three people were caught by police after a Brookfield woman on Martha Drive noticed someone drive up to her mailbox on May 21, taking a bill and leaving the area, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
Barbara M. Gates, 33, was charged with mail fraud and misappropriating identity information. Deatralle D. Gray, 36, was charged with mail fraud, misappropriating identity information and obstructing an officer. Kenneth C. Minor, 18, was charged with mail fraud, misappropriating identity information and driving a vehicle without consent.
Gates faces up to six years in prison and $20,000 in fines if convicted. Gray faces up to six years, nine months in jail and $20,000 in fines if convicted and Minor faces up to 7-1/2 years in prison and $30,000 in fines if convicted.
Police officers in southeastern Wisconsin were made aware of an identity theft ring involving the theft of mail to receive checks and other identification information from people in order to create check fraud.
So when a woman called to report her bill had just been stolen from her mailbox, a Brookfield police officer called for backup and pursued the suspects’ vehicle, noticing a bag on the side of the road before he pulled over the vehicle, the complaint states.
The bag had the mail from the woman who spotted the defendants, according to the complaint, as well as bills, letters and birthday cards from 14 homes and businesses on:
- Marcy Road, Menomonee Falls
- Legend Court, Menomonee Falls
- Walnut Court, Menomonee Falls
- Dane Court, Brookfield
- Stonebrook Court, Brookfield
- Sunnycrest Drive, Brookfield
- Pilgrim Road, Brookfield
- North 169th Street, Brookfield
- Tia Court, Brookfield
- Eldorado Drive, Brookfield
The vehicle they were driving had been stolen about three weeks earlier, according to the complaint.
Additionally, Gates’ brother is under investigation by the Menomonee Falls Police Department for stealing mail and cashing fake checks at businesses in Menomonee Falls and Pewaukee.