Alleged Mail Thief Flees in Kayak Without a Paddle; Gets Arrested

By Brett Snider, Esq. on December 29, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Mail theft gets under many Americans' skins, but one man took to his kayak in order to stop a suspected mail thief.

A pair of alleged mail thieves were acting a bit Grinchy on the morning of Christmas Eve, reportedly going through mailboxes in the town of Sammamish, Washington. According to Seattle's KCPQ-TV, sheriff's deputies responded to multiple calls of suspected mail theft, but the two suspects fled on foot when officers arrived. A male suspect grabbed a kayak and tried to paddle away in a pond with his bare hands, but a Good Samaritan grabbed his own kayak and intercepted the man.

What kind of charges do these fleeing (and apparently determined) suspects face?

Mail Theft Is a Federal Crime

Unfortunately for the two suspected mail thieves, while the circumstances of their arrests are humorous, the charges they may face are no laughing matter. Since mail is one of the things handled by the federal government, it shouldn't be too big of a surprise that stealing mail is a federal offense -- one with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

And mail theft charges need not be grouped by the day the offense was committed; prosecutors may choose to level a separate charge for each victim whose mail was allegedly pilfered by the suspects. And if the penalties are to be served consecutively, that can add up to decades of prison time.

The U.S. Postal Service even has its own team of investigators, and KCPQ reports they are looking into the incident with Sammamish police.

Fleeing the Police

When police come to arrest a suspect, in legal terms, fleeing is never a good idea. Not only can fleeing in a vehicle be classified as a violent felony, but it tends to compound your existing criminal problems with new ones. Luckily, it's unlikely any court would consider fleeing via kayak a violent felony, and it's unclear if the suspect will face extra charges for evading arrest.

This may be thanks to the athletic Sammamish do-gooder who paddled out to meet the fleeing suspect and convinced him to return to shore, according to KCPQ. Prosecutors may slap on a resisting arrest charge for both suspects, but it's really the least of their worries compared to the potential multiple felony counts for mail theft.

Maybe there'll be a rowing machine in the prison gym.

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