Deputies arrest fraud suspects with stolen mail and more

Ashley Loftin, Wesley Martinez and Yance Young

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) Deputies investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle arrested three suspects on fraud/identity theft charges after discovering what appeared to be mail stolen from Beaumont, Lumberton and Silsbee, along with a gun and other apparently stolen items from area burglaries, reports Capt. Crystal Holmes. 

JCSO detectives responded to Patna Road in Jefferson County at approximately 11 a.m. on Jan. 18, in reference to a report of a suspicious vehicle sitting out on the road for over 30 minutes. When Deputies K. Lovett, A. Steltz and S. Norman arrived, they noted three people inside the car.  While speaking to the occupants, the alert deputies spotted a handgun on the floor and a large amount of mail with various names on it. Once they got the suspects out of the car, the officers obtained permission to conduct a search of the vehicle. 

The search of the vehicle led deputies to believe the mail had been recently stolen. They also located items in the car they believe could have been stolen during an area burglary or burglaries. Deputies arrested 31-year-old Ashley Loftin of Spurger, 33-year-old Wesley Martinez of Beaumont and 26-year-old Yance Young, also of Beaumont. The three suspects are charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information under Texas Penal Code §32.51, which prohibits a person from obtaining, possessing, transferring, or using an item of identifying information of another person without the other person's consent with the intent to harm or defraud another.

All three were brought to the sheriff’s office for questioning, reports Capt. Holmes. They were then booked into the Jefferson County Jail on bonds of $45,000 each for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information and $15,000 bonds for forgery. 

"We are in the process of contacting the owners of the mail," Holmes stated. "We are also attempting to identify the owners of the items that may have been taken in a burglary."

Holmes asked that anyone who may be able to identify any of the stolen items contact Capt. Jeff Chadney at (409) 835-8737 with additional details. 

Holmes had some safety tips for area residents. She recommends, "When ordering checks, have them sent to your financial institution instead of your home. This crew was stealing checks, credit cards, cash and other valuables. 

"Check your credit report at least once a year, if not more often, as part of your normal financial management practices. You can get a free report and FICO score at www.freecreditscore.com, which is an Experian company, and does not require any credit card information. You could also sign up free with Credit Karma, which will do soft inquiries and not affect your credit score. Also, you are encouraged to monitor your bank accounts daily."

She also delivered a special thanks to the citizen who reported the suspicious vehicle.

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