The Chronicle - Centralia

Accused Onalaska Mail Thief Faces New Charges; Combined Bail Increased to $300,000 

An Onalaska woman accused of stealing a substantial amount of mail in Lewis County is facing new charges related to a check she allegedly stole from the mail in September 2022 and a debit card she allegedly stole from the mail in January 2023. 

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office filed a third batch of charges against Amber K. Ingram, 40, on Thursday, March 30. 

Ingram was formally charged with six new charges — two counts each of second-degree identity theft and one count each of second-degree possession of stolen property, second-degree theft, third-degree theft and forgery — in Lewis County Superior Court on Friday, March 31. Arraignment is scheduled for April 6. 

She is accused of stealing a $225 paycheck, which was issued Sept. 2, 2022, out of a Centralia mailbox and depositing it into her personal bank account on Sept. 13, 2022, according to court documents. The check was reportedly issued from the Law Office of Buzzard O’Rourke to a custodian, who met with a detective about the theft on Feb. 24, 2023.

Ingram is also accused of stealing an access device for a newly-opened bank account from a Mossyrock mailbox in early January 2023, according to court documents. 

The victim reported he deposited $4,000 into the account and waited to be mailed an access device, which he never received. When he checked his account, however, he saw there had been two separate withdrawals — one for $800 and one for $180. 

The victim’s bank card was one of the pieces of stolen property found in Ingram’s vehicle when law enforcement searched her vehicle on Jan. 7, 2023, according to court documents. 

That Jan. 7 search of Ingram’s and a Jan. 11 search of Ingram’s residence culminated in 30 felony charges for Ingram, which she pleaded not guilty to. 

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office filed 11 additional felony charges against Ingram in early March after she failed to appear for a mandatory court hearing on the first case. She  allegedly had stolen mail in her purse when she was arrested on a warrant. She hid a baggie of suspected fentanyl pills in her bra that was discovered when she was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to court documents. 

Ingram pleaded not guilty to that second batch of charges on March 2. 

Each batch of charges is considered a separate case in Lewis County Superior Court. 

Ingram faced a combined total of 47 separate charges in Lewis County Superior Court as of Friday afternoon. 

Bail for the first two cases is set at $100,000 each. 

Given those two prior cases and the existence of a GoFundMe seeking to raise $30,000 — $20,000 to post bail and $10,000 to “cover the costs of a retainer fee for possibly a new lawyer and to help pay her parents back for the burden of covering costs while Amber has been away the last 30 days” — prosecutors asked Judge J. Andrew Toynbee to set bail for the new case at $100,000. 

Ingram’s defense attorney told Toynbee,  “(Ingram) is OK with whatever bail you think is fair.” Toynbee granted the prosecution’s bail request. 

Ingram must post bail for all pending cases, $300,000 total, in order to be released before her cases are resolved. 

While a trial for the first two cases was initially scheduled for the week of April 18, it has been delayed to June 12.

While Ingram has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the first two cases and has yet to enter a plea in the third case, the GoFundMe’s creator, identified as Onalaska resident Allyn Parnel, states Ingram “is prepared to face the consequences” of the “countless charges” she is facing “due to poor decision and choice making.” 

The GoFundMe, which was created March 27, had raised $15 as of Friday afternoon. 

The fundraiser’s description includes “a little note from Amber,” which quotes her as saying, “Thank you to everyone who has chosen to help whether it be by donating or simply sharing. I am deeply sorry to everyone who has been affected by this whole situation. My heart goes out to you all. Again, I am very sorry. My wish is to be home with my 3 children before returning to the inevitable of prison time. Best Wishes and God bless!” 

In addition to photos of Ingram and her children, the GoFundMe page includes images of Ingram with substantial bruising on her face and details how Ingram was “a pillar of the community” before she was victim of “a horrible physically abusive relationship choice that nearly killed her” and “everything came crashing down.” 

The goal of the fundraiser, Parnel wrote, “is to raise and provide enough money to help bail Amber out long enough for her to be able to get home and spend time with her 3 young children, her family and her pets while also getting her affairs into order and preparing to sell her home in order to provide for her children while she is serving her time in prison, while also helping to relieve some of the financial burden her parents have experienced while helping during the time Amber has been incarcerated.” 

Ingram had not been sentenced on any of her three cases as of Friday afternoon. 

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Editor’s note: Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in need of support can contact Hope Alliance’s crisis line at 360-748-6601, or toll free at 1-800-244-7414,  which is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available on the nonprofit’s website, The site is equipped with a “quick escape” button that lets visitors quickly leave the site if needed.

Thurston County Deputies Arrest Suspect After Close Encounter With Cougar

A K9 unit with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to hunt down the suspect of a hit-and-run collision Thursday when they were stopped in their tracks by a cougar. 

Sheriff’s Lt. Cameron Simper said deputies were dispatched at 7:35 p.m. March 30 to the crash in the 13000 block of Bald Hill Road, outside Yelm. He said a 45-year-old motorist had struck another person’s truck, causing them to leave the roadway and damage some power lines. There were no injuries. 

Simper said the man got out of his car and started to walk away from the scene when citizens nearby confronted him. They followed the man until he started to throw rocks at the bystanders. That’s when a deputy arrived on the scene with a K9 unit.

Simper said Deputy Dillon and K9 Isa were directed to a long driveway the man had walked down. At some point during the foot pursuit, Simper said K9 Isa came in close contact with a cougar. 

The foot pursuit ended soon after, likely because of the encounter, Simper said, and Washington State Patrol was called to assist with aircraft surveillance.

The man was soon found in the woodline, and deputies were directed to the location, where he was arrested. He was booked into the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run, as well as for a felony domestic violence warrant.

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