By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Centralia police reported this morning they’ve arrested a suspect in the break-in to the Centralia city utilities payment drop box over the weekend and recovered several checks. The owners will be notified, according to the Centralia Police Department.
Erick D. Teichman-Lehrer, 31, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, according to detective John Panco.
Police said the box on the 500 block of North Pearl Street was burgled at approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday and discovered on Monday morning.
The box had last been emptied by the city at about noon Sunday, according to police.
Anyone who dropped a payment into the box between noon and 11 p.m. on Sunday is advised to contact their bank and put a stop payment on their checks, police say.
Anyone who thinks their payment may have been stolen is asked to contact Officer Mike Lowrey at 360-740-1105 and reference case number 17A1928.
The city of Centralia recommends anyone who put a payment in the box any time between noon on Sunday and 8:30 a.m. on Monday contact the customer service center at 360-330-7657 to assure the payment was applied to their account.
Anyone who notices anything unusual related to payment processing of their utility account should also contact the customer service center.
Detective Panco today said images caught on camera led to a vehicle that matched the vehicle leaving the scene and their suspect and also showed the theft. Teichman-Lehrer allegedly admitted to breaking into the box and stealing envelopes containing checks made out to the utility department, according to Panco.
The red drop box was to be removed by the city and won’t be available until further notice.