A suspect in the theft of multiple US Postal Service vehicles and mail – including two West Seattle incidents on which we reported in January – is due in court this afternoon on federal charges. Here’s the announcement from the US Attorney’s Office (we’ve marked the West Seattle-relevant paragraph in bold):
The suspect in a series of mail vehicle and mail key thefts was arrested today on a federal complaint charging him with theft of mail and possession of stolen mail, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.
Johny Mixayboua, 27, is accused of a string of mail theft incidents involving stolen postal vehicles, stolen postal keys, mail theft, and associated crimes such as identity theft. Mixayboua will appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:00 today.
According to the criminal complaint, on December 28, 2022, a U.S. Postal Service vehicle was stolen from the 6300 block of South Bangor Street in Seattle. In the vehicle was a postal key that is used to access the cluster mailbox units in the 98178 zip code. The key allows the postal worker to open the back of the cluster box to deliver mail to multiple households. Since the theft of the vehicle and postal key, there have been numerous reports of cluster boxes in zip code 98178 being opened and mail stolen.
Working with neighbors, the Postal Inspection Service was able to get door camera footage showing the person accessing the postal boxes. Neighbors reported credit cards being stolen and attempts being made to use them. Inspectors were able to review images from when the credit card attempts occurred and ultimately identified Mixayboua as the person stealing the mail and attempting to use the stolen credit cards.
Additionally, local law enforcement determined that vehicles used in a number of the mail theft incidents were reported stolen.
On January 17, 2023, two more Postal Service vehicles were stolen. One in the 3000 block of Beach Drive SW and a second one in the 3600 block of 57th SW. Both are in zip code 98116. Using doorbell camera footage from the block where one of the vehicles were recovered, investigators allegedly saw Mixayboua removing mail and parcels from the stolen postal vehicle and putting them in another vehicle. Again, law enforcement traced credit cards stolen from the mail and obtained surveillance footage that appears to show Mixayboua attempting to make purchases with the credit cards.
On January 30, 2023, a fourth postal vehicle was stolen – this time from the 2000 block of S. Columbian Way in Seattle. On March 28, 2023, a fifth postal vehicle was stolen from the 5700 block of S. 129th Ave. One of the people associated with the theft matches a description of Mixayboua.
In late January and February, the mail theft incidents continued — this time in the Snoqualmie area. The cluster boxes were opened with either a counterfeit or authentic postal key. Again, credit cards were stolen, and one was linked to images of Mixayboua making purchases at Target.
Throughout April, mail thefts continued from as far north as Lake Forest Park and as far south as southeast Seattle.
The postal service halted deliveries in zip code 98118 for about a week while investigators worked to track down and arrest Mixayboua.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has worked diligently to get Mixayboua and his coconspirators into custody. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elyne Vaught.
We’ve just taken a first run through the charging documents; they note that Mixayboua used a stolen credit card for purchasing items from at least three stores and one gas station in West Seattle. We’re still researching and will add anything more of West Seattle relevance here. He is charged with two federal counts, mail theft and possession of stolen mail, so far.
ADDED 12:13 PM: Mixayboua has eight auto-theft-related cases on record in King County, between 2014 and 2018. In the documents for the most-recent case, he was described as a “prolific auto-theft suspect throughout King County.” The 2018 case involved three auto-theft-related counts and one count of eluding; he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.