BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - A Chico woman pled guilty to large-scale identity and mail theft and burglarizing a post office, Butte County District Attorney said.
Carolyn Hill, 45, pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges that are related to identity theft and burglary of the Durham Post Office, District Attorney Mike Ramsey said.
The investigation began in August of 2020 when Butte County deputies responded to the Durham Post Office after a report of a break-in.
Ramsey said numerous mailboxes were pried open and lots of mail was stolen. Deputies did not have a suspect at the time.
As the investigation developed, Hill became a suspect in a theft that occurred at a Chico drug treatment center where Hill was a counselor, Ramsey said.
In December 2020, a deputy recognized Hill sitting in her car with a meth pipe next to her at a storage unit.
The car and storage unit was searched and deputies found “personal identifying information” that belonged to numerous people, including some from the Durham Post Office, Ramsey said.
Ramsey said the belongings found were stolen checks, driver’s licenses, account statements, credit and debit cards, tax information and social security numbers.
Then deputies matched the stolen items with the victims, who were contacted and confirmed the identity theft. They did not know Hill or give her permission to have their information, Ramsey said.
One victim from the post office said she noticed an unusual transaction on their bank account of a check made out to “Carol Hill” and was cashed in Red Bluff.
The Red Bluff Police Department was contacted by the victim and the department was able to get surveillance footage of Hill depositing the stolen check.
Hill was interviewed and was ultimately admitted to conspiring with someone else to burglarize the post office and Hill was the “getaway” driver.
Ramsey said over 75 victims were confirmed of identity theft related to this case and Hill was in possession of $200,000 in stolen checks.
Ramsey added that several victims were clients of the drug rehab center where Hill was working and Hill accessed their personal files to steal from them.
Hill will be sentenced on Aug. 25, 2020, where she faces nine years and four months in jail. She will also be responsible;e for restitution to her victims.