Chino Valley woman arrested for mail theft, check fraud

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CHINO VALLEY - The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

During the last part of November and early December, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies conducted an extensive mail theft and check fraud investigation resulting in the arrest of 27-year-old Chino Valley resident, Summer Arnold.

On November 21, 2008, a Prescott area church reported a theft of business checks from the church mailbox. Several checks were cashed and eventually returned to the victim after being used on various dates at the Chino Valley Safeway. Deputies followed up at the Safeway Store and reviewed video tapes of these transactions depicting a female using the stolen checks. On at least one occasion, the name Arnold was provided with a Safeway membership card during the check transaction and this matched the identity on another stolen check used at a retail outlet in Prescott. Law enforcement data sources provided identification on Arnold and a physical description that matched the suspect seen in the videos. Attempts to locate Arnold at this time were unsuccessful.

On December 2, 2008, a Chino Valley Safeway employee called YCSO to report Arnold in the store attempting to cash another stolen check. A YCSO detective arrived and detained Arnold. She was arrested, interviewed and linked to the use of at least 10 stolen checks at various locations in the tri-city area. She was booked at the Prescott Detention Center for various counts of Fraudulent Schemes.

Another investigation, beginning on November 23, 2008, eventually linked Arnold to mail theft and additional check fraud. This investigation started when a Chino Valley resident found opened mail strewn about Morgan Trail in Chino Valley. Deputies recovered the mail and sent letters to 24 Chino Valley residents to alert them regarding the found mail. Several replied and information was found linking Arnold to the use of stolen checks belonging to these residents. During follow-up on December 4, 2008, Arnold was interviewed while in custody and admitted to several thefts of mail and use of stolen checks at Safeway and Fry's markets. She was additionally charged with Theft of Mail, Identity Theft, Fraudulent Schemes and Forgery.