Patient information may have been compromised within a physician's group that serves Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties after an employee made an attempt to copy private information.
An investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office was prompted by a report that two suspects had made an attempt to copy photos taken of private patient information from Florida Digestive Health. Detectives are now investigating a breach of the records.
"The two suspects in the case went to a local Walmart and tried to make copies of what they have," Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said.
Walmart's policy is to make sure images they copy aren't illegal, according to Bristow.
The suspects were told they could not leave the store with the pictures they had printed at the self service if they didn't show them to an employee, according to an incident report. The store manager told them if they chose not show them, then they could shred them in the store.
The pictures were shredded and the suspects left the store. The store manager then reprinted the photos.
"They didn't want to show it to them, so when they left, Walmart contacted us," Bristow said.
It was learned that there were 41 pictures containing multiple people's information on each picture, deputies reported. The personal information included names, date of birth, social security number, phone number a patient ID number.
The sheriff's office will not release the suspects' names at this time, because it is an ongoing investigation.
"They are both facing charges, but they have not been charged," Bristow said.
The sheriff's office has not had any report of the potential victims' information being used, according to Bristow.
"We are hoping they didn't use any of the information," Bristow said.