Todd Parker Neuwirth, 40, is accused of stealing personal information from flood victims by either rummaging through their debris piles or breaking into their evacuated homes. He told officers he also got some of the information from crews cleaning up flooded houses.
"Nine victims and no telling how many more we'll have," said Sgt. Troy Teller of the Splendora Police Department.
Investigators are waiting on a warrant to search hard drives, USB drives, a phone and laptop.
Teller said they discovered Neuwirth's operation after a traffic stop on Friday. Investigators showed Eyewitness News the social security cards, credit cards, driver's licenses and checks along with printers and a laptop they believe he used to make counterfeit checks.
Police said he told them he bought some of the information from crews who had been cleaning flooded homes. Investigators believe he also burglarized homes for additional information, turning flood victims into crime victims as well.
"[Criminals] feed off this. This is the time to take advantage of it. Everybody's security is down. They're out of their homes. They're away from their property for numerous hours and days. They are what [criminals] look for," Teller said.
The victims live all over the Houston area and police are still trying to locate some of them.
Neuwirth is charged with tampering with a government record and fraud. He's being held in jail on a $400,000 bond, which is higher, because the alleged crimes happened during a declared disaster. Police say he was on parole for a federal fraud case.
If you were flooded and believe your accounts have been compromised, you're urged to contact Splendora police at 281-689-3348 ext. 114 or ext. 111, or the Montgomery County non-emergency line at 936-760-5800, option #3.
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