Anchorage Couple Sentenced for Christmas Mail Thefts
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen Loeffler announced that James Joseph Baehm, Jr., 47, and Melody Baehm, 41, of Anchorage, were sentenced today for their involvement in stealing mail just before Christmas 2013. The Baehms were arrested in the early morning hours of December 22, 2013, in the Upper Hillside area of South Anchorage, where they had been stealing mail from residential mailboxes. Further investigation revealed that they had also stolen mail a week earlier, and had cashed stolen checks amounting to approximately $2000. The United States Postal Inspection Service identified between 80 and 100 victims whose mail was taken by the Baehms, and either recovered from their vehicle or found dumped in trash bins.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess sentenced each defendant to a five-year term of probationary supervision. Each defendant must spend six months in community confinement, either in a halfway house or in a residential drug treatment facility. The court found that each defendant has a serious heroin addiction that must be addressed if they are to successfully re-enter the community, and ordered them each to submit to an evaluation to determine the extent of their substance abuse problems. Judge Burgess also imposed the requirement that each defendant devote at least 40 hours per week to employment, seeking employment, or job training. He also ordered them to each perform 400 hours of community service and ordered them to pay $1850 in restitution to Alaska USA Federal Credit Union to pay back the money they stole by forging the stolen checks.
The defendants have been in federal custody since their arrest on December 22, 2013, having served five months in jail. Each faces several pending felony and misdemeanor state theft charges, as well as probation violations on prior state property crimes.
Ms. Loeffler thanks the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Anchorage Police Department for their work in solving this case.