News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Oregon Man Sentenced To Prison For Identity Theft Linked To Car Prowls At Mt. Rainier National Park

Defendant Linked to 16 Car Break-ins from May to July 2010

September 9, 2012

A Medford, Oregon man was sentenced today to 26 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $7,034 in restitution for more than a dozen car prowls at Mount Rainier National Park, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  MATTHEW J. MORTINSON, 35, and his co-defendant, Pamela N. Williams, 25, broke into vehicles parked at various trailheads in May and June 2010, stealing computers, credit cards and other valuables.  Some victims had been away from their cars for only an hour when the break-ins occurred.  In each case the defendants damaged the vehicle by smashing windows or removing the truck canopy to gain access.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle asked MORTINSON if he had read the statements from the victims, describing how the thefts had impacted them.  “You can’t understand the impact on the victims of your conduct.”  Judge Settle said.  “It is a serious interference with the quality of their lives . . . .   The sentence imposed is to deter you and others . . . .” from similar conduct, the Judge said

According to records filed in the case, MORTINSON and Williams broke into vehicles at Paul Peak trailhead, Comet Falls trailhead, Crystal Lakes trailhead, White River Campground, and the Carbon River entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.  The pair stole backpacks, purses and wallets from the cars.  They took laptop computers, passports, outdoor tools and credit cards. They used the credit cards to make unauthorized purchases.  MORTINSON was arrested following a traffic stop, because of a warrant for his arrest in Oregon.  After he was jailed in Pierce County, further investigation linked the two to the break-ins.  A search of Williams’ residence turned up some of the stolen goods.  WILLIAMS pleaded guilty in December 2011, and was sentenced to two years in prison in April 2012.

In their sentencing memo prosecutors described some of the damage detailed by the victims in this case: the loss of irreplaceable photos on a laptop computer; the need to cut a trip short after the theft of a laptop; the loss of a sense of security at Mount Rainier; and the loss of a passport with stamps of great sentimental value.

The case was investigated by National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers and Special Agents and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm.


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