COOKEVILLE — A stack of papers thrown away at a garbage dump caught the attention of a concerned citizen recently, and now the police know about it, too.
“It was a bunch of papers blowing all over the place at the dump site, and I picked up some to see what they were,” said a Cookeville man. “It was where a tattoo business had thrown away records of people they had done business with.”
The papers were copies of release forms the tattoo business had required its clients to sign, giving their names, addresses, ages, dates of birth, description and location of their tattoos, their signatures — and even photo copies of their driver’s licenses.
The man who found the discarded papers could hardly believe that anyone would be so careless as to just toss people’s personal identification information out at a dump to blow around the grounds.
He took the time and trouble to contact some of the people and was amazed to learn that one of those whose information was on the discarded papers is the wife of a police officer.
That fact, as well as the whole specter of potential identity theft cases, got the attention of the Cookeville Police Department, and officers went to the dump site and gathered up the papers.
After further investigation, Capt. Nathan Honeycutt determined that the tattoo parlor named on the papers is no longer in business. He said the case is still under investigation.
“Most of all, we want to make sure that all businesses and individuals who are custodians of other people’s personal information know that they could face great civil liability and could end up paying a lot of money in cases like this if it resulted in someone’s identity being stolen,” Honeycutt said.
Business or other records containing that type of information should be shredded before being discarded, he said.
He said detectives will consult with the district attorney’s office about possible law violations in the case.