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ID thief suspect accused of preying on fire victims

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Petaluma police arrested a Petaluma woman Monday on suspicion of stealing identifications, checkbooks and credit cards belonging to Santa Rosa residents who were staying at Petaluma evacuation centers, a police sergeant said.

A mail theft victim informed police about fraudulent charges to her bank account and a cancelled check made out to the Mary Isaak Center, Sgt. Lance Novello said.

Police contacted Katie Lehnhard, 31, who was staying at the center. Lehnhard had property that was taken from the mail theft victim and other Petaluma residents, as well as recent Santa Rosa evacuees staying in Petaluma, Novello said.

Police also believe some of the property was stolen from a vehicle left behind in the fire-ravaged Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa and possibly from another vehicle left in the burned Larkfield area north of Santa Rosa, Novello said.

Lehnhard was arrested on suspicion of mail theft, forgery and fraud and booked in the Sonoma County Jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court Wednesday morning.

Novello said investigators were still in the process of contacting other potential victims and calculating monetary losses.

Officials preach patience as mandatory evacuations lift

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