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'Criminal with a conscience' leaves note after taking and returning woman's mail

Posted at 11:33 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-04 01:33:33-05

PHOENIX — Ashley Wolverton was expecting her 5 year old son's old passport in the mail.

She had just renewed it but had yet to see the expired one in her mailbox until December 27th, when she heard a knock at her door.

Her husband answered, and saw an unfamiliar face of a woman, who said she had their mail, claiming to live down the street. In her hands was an envelope from the U.S. Department of State National Passport Center and another from their son's health insurance company. Wolverton admits she waited a few days to open the envelope, but when she did, she saw it had already been forced open.

"I see there’s a letter inside, so I pull everything out and start reading the letter," she said.

To whoever you are," it begins, "You are lucky that I checked your mailbox. When I saw 'passport' I damn near leaped with joy."

The would-be crook admitted to not only stealing the mail, but hoping to steal her son's information and credit. The writer, though, says they had a change of heart.

"When I opened it and saw your adorable lil' man my heart sank and my stomach went in knots," it added. “ We shouldn’t have to worry about that," said Wolverton. "That’s my one should be going through our stuff that’s our property."

Just moments after reading the letter, Wolverton checked her home's security system, remembering the woman who had returned their mail in person.

“If someone steals your mail, most likely they’re not gonna return it," thought Wolverton. However, video of the woman who came to their door step made the Valley mother suspicious.

“She looked fine at first, then, she looked up," added Wolverton."I think that’s when she saw the camera she couldn’t stay still I’m like this woman is definitely acting like she has something to hide.”

The letter went on to give Wolverton advice on keeping her mail from being stolen.

"Please, do not let mail like this be sent to your mailbox, get a P.O. Box for your bank statements and everything," it added. "You won't always get lucky like this again."

The Valley mom doesn't think this is the first time this mystery woman has tried stealing from mailboxes. Wolverton hopes others will recognize the woman captured on her security camera and warn other homeowners.

“I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen again," she said. "And I'm taking precautions so it doesn’t happen to me again.”

Wolverton says she's contacted the postal inspector's office and it opened an investigation into the mail theft Friday. The inspector's office told her it's still a crime to tamper with mail, even if it's returned.