Pasco Sheriff: 900 victims in mail theft case - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco Sheriff: 900 victims in mail theft case

Posted: Updated:
Brian Michael Chapman, 30, is suspected of stealing mail. Pasco County Jail booking photo Brian Michael Chapman, 30, is suspected of stealing mail. Pasco County Jail booking photo
3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area. Pasco Sheriff's Office photo 3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area. Pasco Sheriff's Office photo
3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area.  Pasco Sheriff's Office photo 3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area. Pasco Sheriff's Office photo
3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area.  Pasco Sheriff's Office photo 3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area. Pasco Sheriff's Office photo
3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area.  Pasco Sheriff's Office photo 3,000 pieces of mail were stolen in the Tampa Bay area. Pasco Sheriff's Office photo
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Nearly a thousand people in Pasco County were victims of a career criminal who stole their mail, say detectives.

Investigators say they caught Brian Chipman in the Gulf Harbors neighborhood when someone saw him driving around early in the morning.  They say Chipman was stopping frequently, without lights on, or a front plate on his overdue, rented SUV. 

Detectives say he stole mail with credit or gift cards, bank statements, or tax information. 

"Right now, you might not know you're a victim but if you check your credit report, if you go on line and something doesn't seem right,  notify your local sheriff's office it may be connected to this case," said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
 
8 On Your Side visited a homeowner's meeting at Gulf Harbors. This reporter told a large group about the arrest, and how to protect themselves from mail theft.  I also met two women who believe they could be victims of Chipman.

One resident sent checks to pay her Sears bill, and others for her grandsons.

"They didn't get the checks.  Sears didn't get the checks so they called me up and said 'you owe us extra'. I said 'I sent you a check'.  'We didn't get it so you owe us interest'," said Maryann Hellwinkel.

Another resident sent mortgage and health insurance payments that never arrived.

"Plus, we noticed over the holidays there were lot of Christmas cards that we didn't get from people we've heard from for years and years," said Ruth Elin Rieley.

Chipman isn't the only one facing charges. While in jail, the Sheriff says he called his girlfriend, Shelly Johnson.

"He tells her, 'we should really have a bonfire'.  Which was the clear indication that the needed to go burn some more personal identification," said Sheriff Nocco.

Racing to the home, Nocco says a deputy found burning paperwork, and more evidence of mail thefts.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is also looking for related cases. Detectives think the suspect was involved in check fraud, credit card fraud, tax fraud, and identity theft.

Chipman is currently being held at the Land O Lakes Detention Center with bond set at $10,000.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:16 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:16:32 GMT
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
  • Lakeland Electric warns customers about phone payment scam

    Lakeland Electric warns customers about phone payment scam

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 12:59 PM EDT2014-08-19 16:59:20 GMT
    Lakeland Electric customers beware of a current scam that involves an individual who calls and acts as if he is a representative of Lakeland Electric.
    Lakeland Electric customers beware of a current scam that involves an individual who calls and acts as if he is a representative of Lakeland Electric.
  • Brita recalling children's water bottles

    Brita recalling children's water bottles

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-08-19 13:36:14 GMT
    Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.
    Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Dog taken from Weedon Island sandbar

    Dog taken from Weedon Island sandbar

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:19 AM EDT2014-08-20 15:19:49 GMT
    An upset dog owner is hoping to find her dog she believes was taken from Weedon Island on Sunday.
    An upset dog owner is hoping to find her dog she believes was taken from Weedon Island on Sunday.
  • Davis Islands woman shoots man in her home

    Davis Islands woman shoots man in her home

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:39 AM EDT2014-08-20 14:39:50 GMT
    The shooting scene on Davis IslandsThe shooting scene on Davis Islands
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands.  It happened Tuesday night just before midnight on Riviera Drive.
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands.  It happened Tuesday night just before midnight on Riviera Drive.
  • Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:09 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:09:52 GMT
    Kyle Williams is accused of killing a police officerKyle Williams is accused of killing a police officer
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.