BELLINGHAM – A Whatcom County man contracted to deliver packages in Bellingham is suspected of stealing nearly 200 of those packages worth thousands of dollars.
The Bellingham Police Department booked Ameran Avtandilovich Kekutia, 33 of Maple Falls, Washington, into Whatcom County Jail Friday, April 29, on suspicion of first-degree theft and first-degree possession of stolen property. Jail records show Kekutia was released shortly afterward on personal recognizance.
Police investigators were first notified of the alleged thefts on Jan. 20, 2021, by investigators for OnTrac, a delivery company that contracts with private delivery drivers, according to Whatcom County Superior Court documents.
Delivery drivers contracted with OnTrac use their own cars to pick up packages at the company’s facility in Kent and then deliver them on specified routes, using their cell phones to scan packages as they are delivered, court documents state. A GPS marker indicates where the package is when it is scanned.
OnTrac investigators began looking into Kekutia, who had worked for OnTrac for approximately two years, when the company noticed a high number of complaints about packages that were not being delivered or were being reported lost or stolen, according to documents.
Investigators discovered discrepancies in the location recorded by the GPS marker when the package was scanned by Kekutia and where the actual delivery address of the package was supposed to be, documents state. Many of the undelivered packages reportedly returned GPS markers in the 1200 block of Virginia Street. There were also several packages that had reportedly been scanned more than once, which would be impossible if the package had already been delivered.
OnTrac investigators also reported finding that many of the GPS markers had their location altered, according to documents.
OnTrac investigators went to the 1200 block of Virginia and found a white van, according to documents. The investigators were reportedly able to see several packages still in the van, and using the tracking labels they could see through windows they found the packages had been reported delivered or lost.
Police responded to the 1200 block of Virginia Street, confirmed the van was registered to Kekutia and had the van towed to the Bellingham Police Department, documents state.
After getting a search warrant for the van, police along with assistance from OnTrac investigators, found more than 190 packages and envelopes in the van containing everything from clothing and food to medical and pet supplies, according to documents. Numerous empty boxes that had been marked delivered also reportedly were found in the van.
A complete estimate of how much was stolen was not included in court documents, though it did state the assessed value “is over $5,500, with over half of the property value still being determined by the originating source.”
Court records show a summons was first issued to Kekutia on Nov. 1, 2021. Kekutia also was fired by OnTrac on Jan. 18, 2021, according to court records.
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