Identity theft ring busted

Apr 03, 2013
Courtesy of: Cheol Kang With a search warrant, Mukilteo detectives recovered forged IDs and the equipment to manufacture them from a local hotel room.

Mukilteo police arrested three men on Thursday in connection with an identity-theft ring after hotel cleaning staff found a room full of forged IDs and the equipment to manufacture them.

The room at the hotel in the 8500 block of the Mukilteo Speedway was filled with computers, printers, mail and paperwork that didn’t belong to anyone registered for the room, said Cheol Kang, spokesperson for the Mukilteo Police Department.

A search warrant also recovered numerous ID cards with different names but the same photo of one of the men, as well as a printer with pages of blank check paper.

A 32-year-old from Lake Stevens, a 31-year-old from Renton and a 28-year-old from Everett were booked into Snohomish County Jail for investigation of financial fraud and forgery.

Kang said the three men were already under investigation by other law-enforcement agencies for identity theft, fraud and other financial crimes.

The hotel manager called the police at 2:15 p.m. on March 28 to report suspicious men who had booked a room. As he was talking to officers, the suspects ran out a back door of the hotel and left in a vehicle.

The manager called back at 2:45 p.m. to report that his staff found “suspicious computer equipment” and documents strewn about a room they had been scheduled to clean. Detectives served a search warrant on the room.

The three suspects returned to the hotel that night to get the items they left in the room and were arrested.

“They probably thought the detectives were already gone, but they were still there working,” Kang said.

Another search warrant on the suspect vehicle recovered electronics, suspected narcotics and a forged driver’s license, Kang said. The vehicle had been rented in the name of an ID theft victim.

-Sara Bruestle

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