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ID theft, mail theft victim demands justice

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Mark Wagner said he wants charges pressed at the federal level against Ashleigh Thomas and Erin Barnes, and he wants others to know their names and faces after their alleged mail thefts throughout West Michigan.

“They stole our identity… my wife’s identity, and stole credit cards and checks which was over $40,000,” Wagner said.

That’s the thanks he and his wife got after opening their Kalamazoo home to Thomas and Barnes. The two are accused of going on a multi-state crime spree in 2017. Wagner said
the pair left a bag of stolen mail in his basement before fleeing to Grand Rapids.

“They tried to hide. They came back to our house and got caught breaking into our house by the state police,” Wagner explained.

He reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers after learning we interviewed another alleged victim, Brendan Kelly of Alpine Township, in June of 2018. Someone stole a check from Kelly’s mailbox in 2017, forged the name ‘Ashleigh Thomas’, and managed to deposit the check using the bank’s mobile app.

“And I said are you s******* me,” Wagner recalled.

The Problem Solvers helped Kelly get reimbursed by the bank. However, despite the depth of their alleged crimes, Thomas and Barnes are still currently walking free.

Wagner said, “They’ve had several slaps on the wrist. They stole a damn car down in South Carolina. They stole a car down in South Carolina. Now, excuse me? The girls stole another car in Grand Rapids, and they’re still walking around? What’s the matter here.”

He said while banks refunded most of his money, other customers likely foot the bill and saw higher fees. Wagner said he’d like to see what feels like a slow moving investigation by the federal postal inspector eventually result in mail theft charges and credit card fraud.

Wagner said, “$41,000 is gone. They got it, and I don’t want to see them get away with it.”

The federal postal inspector told FOX 17 the investigation is still open, and his office is trying to move forward with federal prosecution.

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