The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
*Please note: This picture originally included a mugshot of Brad Maxfield, Charles Maxfield’s son. Charles’s mugshot has not yet been archived in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Booking Logs because he is still outstanding. We have edited the article after readers pointed out the mistake. Thank you for your understanding.*
On 09-25-2021 at about 1:14 A.M, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area of West Road and Spring Valley Road in Potter Valley, California.
A local resident noticed a vehicle parked near mail boxes in the area and believed the occupants may have been stealing mail. As the resident approached the vehicle, it sped away and was last seen in the area of Spring Valley Road.
The first responding Deputy encountered the vehicle, a 2004 Ford Focus, on Spring Valley Road. The Deputy noticed the vehicle came to an abrupt stop prior to him making contact with it.
As the Deputy approached the vehicle on foot, he noticed the driver seat was vacant. As the Deputy contacted the passenger, Sharon Smith and he heard what sounded like a person running away through the nearby brush.
Evidence later found within the vehicle identified the driver as being Charles Maxfield. Maxfield was known to be on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) for convictions related to mail theft. Maxfield was also known to have an outstanding arrest warrant for violating the terms of his PRCS.
Additional Deputies arrived and searched the area for Maxfield but were unsuccessful.
A search of the vehicle revealed a massive amount of mail and numerous Identification Documents, none of which were addressed or issued to Maxfield or Smith. Also located in the vehicle were numerous blank checks, a laptop computer and a portable color printer.
A photocopy of a California Identification Card depicting Maxfield was located with the printer. The I.D Card contained the full identification of a person other than Maxfield.
Based on this initial investigation, Deputies determined Maxfield and Smith were in fact actively stealing mail, and using the identifying information gathered from the mail, to commit fraudulent and felonious acts. Smith was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
A search warrant for Smith’s Residence, located in Potter Valley, was secured and served. No additional evidence was located.
Based on the nature of the crimes, a Request to Increase Bail and to Restrict the Source of Bail was granted by a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge. Smith’s bail was set at “No Bail” and should bail be set, she will be required to prove that the funds used to post bail were not feloniously obtained before bail will be granted.
Maxfield remains outstanding at this time.
Further investigation of the evidence revealed no less than 100 separated victims’ identifying information had been acquired by Smith and Maxfield.
This information likely had been used, or was being possessed with the intent to use, in the commission of multiple felonious offenses.
Deputies, with the assistance of the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office Investigations Division, are continuing to follow up with victims related to this case.
Mail was found addressed to persons in the following communities: Ukiah, Calpella, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Reeves Canyon and Willits.