ELLSWORTH, Maine — Two Bar Harbor teens were arrested in Ellsworth late Tuesday night on theft charges after allegedly stealing mail from mailboxes.
Amethyst Geiger, 18, and a 17-year-old boy were both caught by Ellsworth police Officer Chris Smith on Buttermilk Road around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Both were charged with one count of theft; Geiger also was charged with illegal possession of liquor by a minor. The two are suspected of stealing mail from eight or nine mailboxes, said Detective Dotty Small.
Geiger was taken to Hancock County Jail, but was released later that night on $750 unsecured bail. The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was not taken to jail, according to Corrections Officer Amy Smith. Geiger’s will appear in Ellsworth District Court on March 19.
It’s the second instance of mail theft recently around Ellsworth. Police have identified a suspect — neither of the teens in Tuesday’s arrest — in a string of check thefts, in which an unknown man stole checks from area mailboxes and surreptitiously cashed them at Home Depot in Ellsworth, among other stores. By mid-January, the man had cashed $2,400.
Tom Rizzo, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said mail theft is uncommon, but not unheard of.
“When you deliver to every house in the country, you’ll hear some of these cases,” he said. “But we don’t see a lot of mail theft.”
Although mail theft is a federal crime — and is punishable by up to five years in prison, an undefined fine, or both — Small said it’s unlikely the two teens would face federal charges.
She said that with large, unusual cases — such as the man stealing mail in the check-cashing scheme — U.S. Postal Inspectors would look at the case and bring it to a U.S. District Attorney for federal prosecution. Not so with a smaller incident like Tuesday’s.
“Something minor like this, they probably won’t even look at it,” Small said.
According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, postal inspectors make about 10 arrests every day for mail theft offenses.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Officer Chris Smith as a lieutenant.