Mailbox Burglar Confesses


Payson resident Tiffany Vernon, 24, has been arrested and charged in connection with the burglary and theft of mail from nearly a dozen community mailboxes last month.

The Gila County Sheriff's Department, assisted by the drug task force, served a search warrant at Vernon's residence on East Bonita Street.

Detective Brian Havey said he had evidence that Vernon was responsible for the thefts and used the information taken from the mail boxes to commit forgery.

"Tiffany confessed to the mailbox thefts," Havey said. "She admitted to doing it to finance her meth problem."

Vernon is also charged with credit card fraud following the theft of a purse from a vehicle in Star Valley, as well as the theft and forgery of checks from a local business amounting to what Havey estimated was about $10,000.

Havey said Vernon was reaping cash and products from information taken off stolen credit cards, bank cards, checks and account information.

"She would write out a check, give it to a friend who would cash it and she would then pay them," Havey said. "On several of the checks, stolen identification from a year ago was used to cash the check."

Havey said Vernon also used the Internet through the use of a personal computer at her house.

"She ordered items off the Internet, including a laptop computer, using stolen identification or account numbers to purchase them," Havey said. "We believe she was then selling the items for cash. She was doing anything she could for drug money."

As to what happened with the mail stolen from the community boxes, Havey said Vernon told him that she had disposed of it as she feared a raid on her house.

However, Havey said his department not only seized Vernon's computer as evidence, they seized several documents tying Vernon to the mail theft.

"There was a spiral notebook used to document account numbers which listed the money available in the accounts," Havey said. "She was trying to transfer money to open new accounts."

The computer's hard drive was taken to the Department of Public Safety for an analyst to download and obtain further pertinent information.

"We don't know how many victims there are from within the city and county," Havey said.

Arrested along with Vernon was Ray Lott, 36, the father of her two small children.

Lott was charged with possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia. Havey said the task force located "bindle" bags containing a powder residue believed to be a dangerous drug, as well as two hypodermic syringes commonly used to inject illegal drugs.

"All the drug items were in an area of the home where the children had access to them," Havey said, "including a loaded syringe."

The children were turned over to the care of Vernon's parents. Vernon is being held in lieu of a $55,000 bond. Lott was being held on a $2,500 bond, however, has since been released from custody.

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