Better Call Behnken: Tampa pastor looking to identify man illegally dumping junk on church property

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa pastor is fed up with people using church property as a free place to dump their junk. This time, he has video of the culprit and wants viewers of Better Call Behnken to help identify the guy.

Pastor Richard Mims, of Newlife Christian Fellowship Church on Armenia Avenue in Tampa, says his church has had to deal with illegal dumping for years. Each time, it costs the church hundreds of dollars to load up the junk and haul it away.

The most recent time, someone dumped a trailer full of tree debris on the back corner of the property behind the church. Calling city code enforcement has not helped. In fact, reporting the problem to authorities just backfires, Mims said.

“Their codes investigator came out and told us we had to remove it,” Mims said. This happened several times.

To attempt to fight back, the church invested in surveillance cameras and mounted them around the church building. So, when the latest incident occurred, they captured video of the whole thing.

The man in the video appears to be a professional landscaper or tree trimmer. You can see his truck drive past the church on Armenia.

It then turns around, and the video shows the truck pull back into the church lot and drive around the building. The driver gets out, uses his automatic lift to dump out piles and piles of heavy tree trunks and debris, and then takes off.

“If this guy is in business for himself, he was paid to dispose of this material, and so if he charged $100 or $200 for disposal, that’s extra money in his pocket. So, he would leave it to us to dispose of,” Mims said.

Mims says he hopes someone will see the video and help identify the perpetrator. All Mims wants is for the person to come back and remove the debris. His small congregation cannot afford to foot the bill, he said.

Mims wants justice, but he said he’s a forgiving man. If the man in the video would take care of this mess, he’ll forget the whole thing.

“If this guy will come back, remove this material, I am willing not to pursue it, but he needs to come back soon,” Mims said.

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