New Port Richey, Florida -- Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco calls this case very serious. Residents call it scary. And, the postal service calls it a felony.
One thing's for sure, this guy is bold and hitting homeowners where it hurts most - the mailboxes in front of their houses.
Investigators say 29-year-old Brian Michael Chipman is accused of going through multiple mailboxes and stealing everything inside. Investigators say this breach was big. An arrest report says Chipman had social security numbers, bank account information, PIN numbers and bank statements. Deputies say he even tried to activate the debit cards while in his car.
Chipman was arrested after an off-duty Pasco detective saw the man's car going through the Gulf Harbors neighborhood in New Port Richey. The detective said Chipman would stop momentarily in front of residences, which to most people would not seem so odd. However, what alerted this detective was the fact that this guy drove without lights, and the license plate was removed.
Turns out, vehicle was traced back to Budget as a rental car.
"I'm proud of our detective. He acted quickly and did a great job figuring out what this guy was doing," said Sheriff Nocco. "You know, your mailbox is the one place that is sacred. This guy violated that and is probably selling off that information he got."
In fact, more than 1,000 pieces of mail were found inside with personal information.
Detectives have located mail in the names of at least 11 people with addresses all over the Tampa Bay area. It's believed Chipman was looking for debit cards and planned to possibly file fraudulent tax returns.
Chipman is currently at the Land O' Lakes Detention Center on a 10,000 bond. He has a lengthy criminal history and has been in and out of prison four times.
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