Deputy Resignation

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
- K-9 Unit

Tampa Police Department Bomb Team

Lieutenant Joseph Gerretz
Age: 46
Date of Hire: 11/1/1993

Deputy James Piper
Age: 59
Original Years of Service: 1982-2015
Rehired: 01/17/2017

What:
A patrol deputy has resigned after he admittedly mailed a toy bomb to a Sheriff’s Office lieutenant as a joke causing an evacuation at the Sheriff’s Administration Building.

When:
The incident occurred at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

Where:
The incident occurred at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Administration Building located at 10750 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

Why/How:
A patrol deputy has resigned after he admittedly mailed a toy bomb to a Sheriff’s Office lieutenant as a joke causing an evacuation at the Sheriff’s Administration Building.

According to investigators, at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, Lieutenant Joseph Gerretz was in his office at the Sheriff’s Administration Building when he receive a package through inner-office mail.

Lieutenant Gerretz opened the box at his desk. The box was insulated with plastic packaging and contained a red cylinder shaped object with protruding wires. A handwritten note with the word “Boom” was included inside the package.

Upon opening the box, seeing the handwritten note and the wires, he immediately vacated his office and made notification of the potential threat.

Portions of the Sheriff’s Administration Building were evacuated and a handler with a K-9 bomb detection dog was called to the scene. The K-9 did not alert to the suspicious package.

Members of the Tampa Police Department Bomb Team responded and confirmed that the device was not a threat. The device was determined to be a toy bomb.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent agency wide communications regarding the partial evacuations and that the device was not a threat.

After seeing the Sheriff’s communication regarding the suspicious device, Deputy James Piper immediately contacted his supervisor and informed him that he sent the package to the lieutenant as a joke.

The supervisor notified his chain of command. Deputy James Piper resigned effective immediately.

Posted by Spencer Gross Tuesday, January 8, 2019 8:30:00 PM Categories: General News

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