Gateway DMV worker busted on numerous felonies

Officials say she slipped information to a friend, which helped him steal cars and property in outer East Portland, and beyond …

Here in this Mall 205 Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicles Services storefront, in the Hazelwood neighborhood, an employee reportedly stole information for nearly two years. Contributed image

By David F. Ashton

More and more victims who had vehicles and goods stolen from them now know why they, specifically, were targeted for criminal activity. That, after a woman was arrested on July 19 for allegedly stealing information at her job at an Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicles Services (DMV) office, and passing it on to a confederate.

This DMV worker, 37-year-old Valerie Applegate, is charged with numerous feloniesMCDC booking photo

37-year-old Valerie Applegate, a Happy Valley resident, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on July 19 at 2:28 a.m. on an astounding 52 charges – ranging from felonies such as “Computer Crime” and unauthorized use of a vehicle, to identity theft and “Receiving a Bribe” – plus numerous misdemeanor charges.

Officials claim that this man, 36-year-old Israel Fonseca, has been involved “more than 100” crimes – thanks, in part, to information allegedly supplied by DMV worker ApplegateMCDC booking photo

Her alleged “partner in crime”, 36-year-old Israel Fonseca was reportedly arrested on July 17 in Woodburn and booked into the Marion County Jail, before being transferred to the MCDC where he was booked in at 1:50 p.m. on July 18 – on 48 felony and misdemeanor charges.

Although a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge set Applegate and Fonseca free on July 19 – without bail – both returned for their arraignment on July 23.

Those who have had transactions at this Mall 205 DMV office now may wonder if their personal information has been compromised. Contributed image

According to court papers, here’s how the scheme worked:

  • On Fonseca’s behalf, Applegate allegedly looked up driver information – including the home address – on vehicles that Fonseca deemed worthy of looting.
  • Fonseca is said to have followed his “mark” from home to a public area, such as a movie theater or shopping mall, waited for the driver to leave, and then break in and steal the vehicle.

Vehicles – Jeeps and SUVs were apparently favored targets – with valuable tires and wheels would found later up on concrete blocks; in other cases, sellable valuables inside the car would be stolen and resold online.

How the cases against these suspects is adjudicated will play out here, in the Multnomah County Courthouse. Image by Ajbenj, released to Wiki Commons public domain

According to law enforcement officials, since 2017, detectives have linked Fonseca to more than 100 vehicle-related thefts to in Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion and Clark counties. Further, he reportedly recorded some of the thefts on his own cell phone.

Applegate, who had worked for DMV since June, 2010, is reported to actually still getting a paycheck in the mail; she was assigned “paid administrative leave” on April 26th.

The next court dates for Applegate and Fonseca have not yet been set; and both remain out of custody, and in our community.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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