A report of a suspicious vehicle led to a man being charged with multiple counts of mail theft in Pine County.
According to the criminal complaint, a Hinckley resident noticed a Monte Carlo with a loud exhaust traveling up and down a residential street stopping at mailboxes around 2:30 a.m. on Monday, February 22.
When law enforcement stopped the suspect, the East Gull Lake man claimed he was working for a company delivering random advertisements addressed to no one in particular. However, he was unable to show evidence of what he was delivering. Instead, he handed the deputy a magazine and a utility bill, with different Hinckley addresses, and claimed they were what he was delivering.
The complaint went on to state that the responding deputy noticed a backpack in the passenger seat filled with mail while, and a further search of the suspect's vehicle found several hundred pieces of mail stowed in the car's center console and trunk. Also found were two Minnesota driver's licenses.
The suspect admitted to law enforcement that he took mail and packages from multiple mailboxes in Hinckley because he was "hard on money."
Later on February 22, authorities executed a search warrant at the Grand Casino Hinckley due to suspicious activity in a room rented by a man who matched one of the licenses found in the suspect's car. Law enforcement found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, along with mail, checks that appeared to be in the process of being altered, cell phones, a financial card read, and metal stamp letters in the room. Some of the mail found in the hotel room were from Brainerd and East Gull Lake, similar to the mail found in the suspect's vehicle.
A check of security cameras found that the suspect was the only person staying in the hotel room.
Nearly 600 pieces of mail were recovered by investigators between the suspect's vehicle and hotel room. The stolen mail has been turned over to a U.S Postal Inspector.
The east gull lake man has been charged with one count of felony Identity Theft, three counts of felony Mail Theft, and one felony charge of Possessing a Controlled Substance.