Everett police say they've broken up 'prolific identity theft ring'

EVERETT, Wash. -- Everett police believe they've broken up an identity-theft ring that's victimized hundreds in Snohomish County.

Police say they have nabbed the ring leaders in what they call a "prolific check forgery ring."

"This is a large operation. We can certainly say there are hundreds of victims," said Everett Police officer Aaron Snell.

Everett police have been building a case against Kenneth Beaman since January. Detectives believe Beaman and his girlfriend, Karey Hinkson, have bilked Snohomish County residents out of more than $200,000.

"They run the gamut of vehicle prowls, to home burglaries to mailbox thefts they get all the financial and personal information from people and they start doing financial fraud," Snell said.

One victim, a Bothell man came home from a camping trip to find his door kicked in, said his electronics were untouched, but a week later he realized his checks were missing.

Police say Beaman's girlfriend tried to cash checks at the victim's bank. The bank got suspicious and called the cops. A police report says Beaman also forged checks at an O'Reilly's Auto Parts.

Everett police say those are just two of the cases that led to the couple's arrest.

The judge set Beaman's bail at $170,000 on Monday because cops say the couple are serial thieves who have been repeatedly busted for identity theft.

"There was a search warrant on their property on Friday and a large amount of equip was found more charges will be following," said a prosecutor to the judge during Beaman's first court appearance since his Friday arrest. "What the detectives found out is it's like a spider web it was pretty prolific."

Beaman's girlfriend will be in court Tuesday, and police hope it's the beginning of the end for a network they believe is countywide and multiple-players deep.

"We have developed numerous suspects -- about 26 -- and we believe these two are the top of the ring the ones that are kind of running it," Snell said.

Police says the ring has also been linked to counterfeit money, including a fake $100 bills.

The Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office is now reviewing the case to determine what charges to file against the Everett pair.