Woodbury mail theft suspect was convicted in 2008 murder caseA woman convicted in a 2008 southeastern Minnesota murder case pleaded guilty last week in a Woodbury check fraud case while awaiting arraignment on separate mail theft charges.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
A woman convicted in a 2008 southeastern Minnesota murder case pleaded guilty last week in a Woodbury check fraud case while awaiting arraignment on separate mail theft charges.
Samantha Mary-Helen Siples, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday, Aug. 2, to one count of possessing stolen checks, a felony that calls for a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Siples was sentenced to 41 months in prison in 2008 on a murder-related charge. She pleaded guilty to one count of aiding an offender in the case of a man found shot to death in an alley in Red Wing, Minn.
Siples drove the getaway vehicle for the confessed killer – her boyfriend at the time – who received a 30-year prison sentence in the case.
Siples came to the attention of Woodbury police in December 2011 after a local woman watched a man snatch mail from her mailbox.
Woodbury police eventually stopped a vehicle containing the suspect, two others and Siples.
A search of the vehicle turned up mail from at least nine people, social security numbers for eight people and nine different driver’s licenses. Police also found $9,000 in checks that had been altered to make them appear to be payable to different people.
Siples allegedly admitted that the group had been driving around while the male suspect stole mail.
She was charged in July with aiding and abetting mail theft and is due to make her first court appearance Aug. 22.
The check fraud conviction stemmed from a criminal complaint against Siples alleging she was present Feb. 20 at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury when police went to investigate a fraudulent check passed by a man at a nearby gas station.
Officers found the man and another male suspect outside the motel. When they went to the suspects’ room, they found Siples sitting on a bed.
Police searched the suspects’ vehicle, where they found seven counterfeit checks – four of which contained Siples’ name as an account holder.
The complaint states the four checks also bore the name of a 42-year-old woman whose identity had been stolen after her vehicle was broken into.
It was later determined that Siples’ name was also on the check presented at the Woodbury gas station.
Siples’ Minnesota criminal history also includes a 2011 Hennepin County theft conviction, a 2011 Ramsey County theft conviction and two 2012 convictions for check forgery – one in Ramsey County, the other in Dakota County.
She was most recently convicted in May for receiving stolen property in Dakota County.
Siples is due to be sentenced Oct. 12 in the check fraud case.