St. Petersburg, Florida - Gary Lemos is an avid recycler. His garage has bins of glass bottles, plastic, and cardboard. "It's all about the earth," he says.
When Lemos goes to a nearby St. Pete recycling drop-off spot, his trips are typically uneventful. However, on his last visit, Lemos noticed something unusual-- much of the dumpster for cardboard contained what looked like important city paperwork. So, he grabbed a few stacks.
"When I grabbed it and saw what I had, I thought wait, this doesn't belong here. This is not right," describes Lemos.
And what disturbed Lemos the most, is that some of the paperwork contained very personal information, like social security and driver license numbers. Lemos knows crooks can use that information to steal someone's identity.
"That's why I contacted Channel 10, because I didn't want to contact the city; you know where it's going to go there- nowhere."
But 10 News wanted to make sure this document dumping did go somewhere. Late Thursday afternoon, we took the paperwork to city hall.
After looking at just a few of the documents, City Communications Director Beth Herendeen told us it's clear that someone did not follow city policies on document disposal.
"It would appear that someone goofed up, based on what you're showing me now," said Herendeen. "And certainly we want to take this and figure out where they all came from, how they ended up where they ended up, and to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Herendeen then showed some of the documents to Mayor Bill Foster, who ordered an internal investigation into what happened.
10 News will be following this investigation.
If you feel you might be a victim of identity theft, there are some steps you should take. Click here for more information.