Police: Petaluma woman stole from fire victims
A Petaluma woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of mail theft and fraud, and the victims in the case are evacuees from recent fires in Santa Rosa staying in shelters in Petaluma, according to the Petaluma Police Department.
Katie Lehnhard, 31, was arrested after a victim noticed fraudulent charges against her bank account and reported it to police.
The victim also provided a potential suspect based on a canceled check. Officers contacted Lehnhard and learned she had an arrest warrant and active probation. A probation search yielded identifications, credit cards and checkbooks belonging to the reporting victim, as well as recent Santa Rosa fire evacuees staying in Petaluma evacuation centers and other Petaluma residents, the police said.
Along with the mail theft, police suspected the property was possibly related to thefts from vehicles, some of which were left behind in burned out neighborhoods.
Lehnhard was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County Jail. The case is under investigation.
Petaluma Police Department recommended victims of the recent fires take extra precautions to protect personal possessions saved from the fires, and to lock their vehicles at all times, especially if it contains those possessions.
Additionally, they recommended contacting the United States Postal Service to redirect mail delivery.