A 37-year-old Anacortes woman has been charged with forgery and second-degree theft after she allegedly stole checks from a Port Townsend woman’s mailbox and took $4,250 from her bank …
A 37-year-old Anacortes woman has been charged with forgery and second-degree theft after she allegedly stole checks from a Port Townsend woman’s mailbox and took $4,250 from her bank account.
Nicole Marie Eldridge was arraigned on the felony charges March 31 in Jefferson County Superior Court.
She entered pleadings of not guilty.
Prosecutors allege Eldridge took checks that had been mailed to the Port Townsend woman and made a mobile deposit into her own checking account.
The victim said she did not know Eldridge, but discovered her mail had been stolen sometime in December.
The check that authorities say was forged was dated Feb. 23 and had Eldridge’s signature on the back. The memo line on the check said the payment was for “Car/2007 Subaru.”
An investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office discovered a complaint to the Oak Harbor Police Department from a Kent man who said he had sold a 2007 Subaru to Eldridge, but he said she never registered the car in her name, and he started getting overdue bridge tolls from the car going across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Authorities said Eldridge is a known mail thief and has a criminal history that includes check forgery, financial fraud, and theft. Police also said she has committed similar crimes in Kitsap, Island, and Snohomish counties.
During an earlier case, it was found Eldridge “would steal checks, wash checks, and forge checks to obtain funds,” a deputy wrote in a case report.
“She has also been known to open accounts such as credit cards by using peoples’ stolen information and in some instances re-route mail to presumably pick up those credit/VISA cards,” the report said.
The investigation also found Eldridge had been sentenced to prison for possession of stolen personal information, but was granted an early release from prison due to COVID.
In prior cases, authorities noted that Eldridge kept ledgers and documentation of victims, and in an earlier case, she was found to have “a large quantity of citizens’ personal financial information and identifications.”
Authorities also said it appeared Eldridge had continued to use stolen personal information after she was released from jail, and noted a recent call in Kitsap County that said Eldridge was using someone else’s information for fraudulent purposes.
Eldridge was contacted last September after her release from prison on a shoplifting incident in Federal Way, and was found to have other people’s drivers licenses and cards, according to a case report.
Authorities noted Eldridge is a five-time convicted felon, with five other cases in Jefferson County dating back to 2018, as well as two from Port Townsend, and a criminal history that stretches to 2010.
“Eldridge will continue to victimize, exploit, and steal from the general public. It appears she is only getting more deceitful with her criminal behavior as time passes,” the case continued.
Conviction of forgery can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $10,000 fine.
Second-degree theft can result in a maximum five-year prison term and a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
Eldridge’s trial has been scheduled to start June 26.