Olympia Detective Sergeant Dan Smith said police have identified as many as 30 victims in the case. Most of the burglaries occurred since September, he said.
Investigators got a break in the case when an employee at a Home Depot store took a license plate number of a group of people who might have been making fraudulent transactions, court papers state. The employee then called police. One of the purchases was made with a stolen credit card that was traced to a car break-in that occurred Sept. 29 in the Holiday Hills neighborhood. Police obtained video of the transaction made using the stolen card, court papers state.
Police traced subsequent use of the card and learned that it had been used to purchase as much as $2,000 worth of merchandise at stores throughout Washington.
After tracing the vehicle’s license plate, OPD’s investigation led to a home in the 4400 block of 15th Avenue Southeast, Smith said.
At the home, police recovered between 25 and 50 stolen credit cards, checkbooks, Social Security numbers and other identification, Smith said. Police also found about an ounce of methamphetamine packaged for sale, in addition to heroin and marijuana, he said.
Police recovered stolen merchandise at the home, including $1,200 worth of tools, MP3 players, digital cameras and GPS devices, Smith said.
He identified the suspected ringleader of the stolen-ID ring as Donna Jane Akers, 35, who is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine and 29 counts of second-degree identity theft. Miguel Adolfo Rodriguez also is charged in connection with the case.
Others who were arrested include Ernest Schumacher, a woman who was at the residence and Ronald Burbridge, Smith said. The investigation is ongoing, he said.
Smith said people should always remove their valuables from their vehicles and lock their car doors. “The majority of the cars that were broken into were unlocked, and the valuables were inside the cars,” he said.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465