Woman faces more mail theft charges

4 new cases

police cannot find suspect

March 20, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

An Elkridge woman charged last month with stealing outgoing mail from boxes and cashing checks she retrieved is facing charges in four additional cases - including one that occurred after her initial arrest.

Mary Elizabeth BeCraft, 22, of the 6500 block of Vert Drive was released on $2,500 bond after her arrest Feb. 11 on theft, fraud and forgery charges in a scheme that Howard County police said involved chemically altering checks taken from mailboxes and making them out to a fictitious name.

Police accused BeCraft of trying March 5 to cash a check taken from a mailbox in Oella in Baltimore County at an Allfirst Bank branch on Dobbin Road in Columbia. A teller questioned the check. BeCraft, who was identified through surveillance video at the Columbia branch, fled when the teller went to talk to her manager, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said yesterday.

An identification card and a credit card with BeCraft's name on them were left behind, Llewellyn said.

The newest case mirrors the other cases in which BeCraft has been accused, but with one difference: In the latest incident, BeCraft's name was used on the check while the older cases involved checks made out to "Kelly Whitehead," Llewellyn said.

Police issued an arrest warrant for BeCraft in the March 5 case but have not located her, Llewellyn said.

BeCraft is charged in three other cases. A Howard County grand jury returned indictments Thursday on forgery, theft, uttering and theft scheme charges. BeCraft is accused of cashing checks - in amounts ranging from $240 to $727.50 - taken from three people or businesses in January, according to the indictment. Three bench warrants, each with a $50,000 bond, were issued yesterday for her arrest in those indictments.

County police said they believe the thefts began in December, primarily from the Elkridge and Ellicott City areas, and could involve as many as 30 victims and thousands of dollars stolen.

After receiving the first calls about stolen mail in December, police alerted area banks.

After her arrest, BeCraft told police that the idea for using a chemical to alter the checks had come from a television show, according to charging documents in the first case.

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