Prolific mail thief to serve more than three years in prison

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 27, 2013 at 7:45 PM

U.S. Attorney’s Office says 40-year-old Wilfredo Bermudez of Seattle stole mail from at least 27 victims in three counties. He then walked into banks and cashed his victims' checks.

Surveillance footage from a year ago shows Bermudez pulling into a business complex with an unnamed accomplice, using a crow bar to pry open a mailbox, stealing the mail and driving off.

“You’re fearful because this person has all your financial information at their disposal, and yeah it's hard to sleep,” said Jill Morris, a nurse who lives in West Seattle.

Bermudez stole a check she wrote for tuition, washed it, and cashed it for much more money than she had in her account.

“He cashed my $155 check for $1055,” said Morris. “So there was a thousand dollars missing out of my checking account.”

He even stole mail from a church in University Place, and cashed a $5,000 check that was meant for a charity.

“I think people like that need a lot of prayer,” said Sherylee Ceccanti, office manager for Mount Cross Lutheran Church. “It's just really, really, sad. It doesn't just affect people who are giving money but those receiving it too.”

Facing a judge in federal court, Bermudez’s attorney blamed his drug habit.

But prosecutors say he also had a lifestyle addiction.

“We know he bought a Hummer, a bright orange, shiny, ostentatious thing that he drove around and used to commit some of his burglaries,” said Ehren Reyolds, assistant U.S. attorney.

After his sentencing, his mother, wife, and children left the courtroom with no comment.

His victims say this was much more than a property crime.

“Did I get my property back, that $1000, yes. But everything else that he stole from me, no,” said Morris.

Bermudez will also face four years of supervision once he's released from jail.  That will include drug testing and bank account surveillance.

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