Police bust million-dollar mail theft ring

33-year-old Angus Johnston is now facing 37 different charges and had eight warrants for his arrest when he was taken into custody by Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies on May 30th. His warrants included mail theft, identity theft, theft and forgery related crimes.

Mail Theft Ring 

The U.S. Postal Inspector also was seeking Johnston for similar crimes at the time of his arrest.

One of his accomplices is 27-year-old Tyler Smith who according to Johnston introduced him to “Mailboxing” Which as you’d guess is stealing mail from other people’s mailboxes.

Once in custody, Johnston told investigators that he thought he “hit the jackpot” in Airway Heights after admitting to stealing over 40 checks from a business’s mailbox on Hayford Road in Airway Heights. What did Johnston mean by jackpot? According to documents Johnston is accused of stealing over one million dollars in checks from landmark turf and seed.

During a search of the suspects, apartment deputies hit their own jackpot. They found meth, heroin, oxycodone, stolen mail, stolen checks, fake checks, printers, digital cameras, fake id’s and check creating software. Detectives believe Johnston, Smith, and possibly others have been running a massive counterfeiting operation for months and maybe even longer

A pack rat’s guide to shredding

Is your home a pack rat’s paradise? You’re not alone. As you start cleaning, are you wondering what to keep and what to shred?

We’ve looked at experts’ advice and compiled this summary of how long they recommend keeping certain documents. Put our handy graphic near your shredder as a guide.

Save forever

Keep documents related to major life events – birth, marriage, divorce, and death. Lock securely:

  • Birth certificates or adoption papers

Social Security cards
Citizenship papers or passports
Marriage or divorce decrees
Death certificates of family members
Also, keep auto titles and home deeds stored safely for as long as you own the property.

Tax records

This time of year, the big question is: what tax records can you shred, and when can you shred them?

  • Tax returns Our conservative advice? It’s best to keep these forever.
  • Pay stubs – Shred ’em after checking them against your W-2.

Home improvement receipts – Keep these receipts until you sell your home, since certain expenses may reduce your capital gains tax.
Other tax records – like tax-related receipts and cancelled checks – Wait seven years before shredding. Why? While the IRS usually has three years to audit you, it has up to seven years under certain circumstances. (If you file a fraudulent return, then the IRS can audit at any time – but for the average honest taxpayer, seven years works.)

If you’re unsure what tax records to keep, consult an accountant or call IRS Taxpayer Assistance at 800-829-1040.

Other records

Most experts suggest that you can shred many other documents sooner than seven years. After paying credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also, shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes, or insurance. After one year, shred bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills (unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute).

For those who are thinking, maybe I should keep everything, just in case. . . remember those identity thieves can’t find documents you have destroyed. Destroying documents with your personal information reduces the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim.

Shredding is just one way to reduce the risk of identity theft. For other tips on preventing identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.