Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-manager of Sonic in west Pasco is charged in theft inquiry


Ex-manager of Sonic charged in theft inquiry

A former general manager for the Sonic drive-in on Ridge Road is accused of stealing $12,734 from the restaurant and using at least part of it on a gambling trip, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. James Alan Phipps, 53, kept 19 of Sonic's cash deposits and a refund check that were supposed to be deposited in the bank, a report states. He is accused of pocketing the money between March and December of last year. A witness told authorities Phipps used money from a Sonic deposit envelope during a gambling trip. As detectives began investigating, Phipps called the Sheriff's Office and confessed, spokesman Doug Tobin said. "He wanted to come clean," Tobin said. Phipps said he was getting help for his gambling problem. Detectives say the money is gone, but Phipps offered to repay it and drove from his new home in Arkansas back to Pasco County to turn himself in, the report said. He was booked into the Land O'Lakes jail Tuesday on a charge of scheming to defraud. He is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.


Charter school seeks new chief

Academy at the Farm, one of Pasco County's first charter schools, is looking for a new director. Michael Rom, who helped found the rapidly growing school, surprised many people by announcing that he will retire on July 1. But he explained that the timing is right, as the Academy at the Farm has no major expansion planned for the first time in several years. "What's best for the school and the future of the school is to bring someone in who will take it for the next five to 10 years," said Rom, who turns 63 this summer. "Next year is the best year for that." The school is taking applications for another week and then a selection committee will review candidates and make a recommendation to the board.


Agency offers help on Medicare plans

Now is the time for seniors to review their Medicare Advantage health plans. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas Inc., in partnership with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs' SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program, is providing free assistance to seniors who are weighing their options. Counselors can be reached by calling toll-free 1-800-963-5337. Callers can also request a face-to-face appointment with a SHINE volunteer. To provide the best assistance, counselors need to know what medications and providers the patient uses, and whether they have received any notice of changes in their coverage.

Sign up and we'll e-mail the news

Get it straight from our newsroom to your inbox. A new e-mail service will send you links each morning to the latest Pasco County headlines. To sign up, visit

Ex-manager of Sonic in west Pasco is charged in theft inquiry 02/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Duke Energy Florida president answers questions about utility's response to Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than a week since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions of Floridians, Duke Energy announced it will finish its restoration efforts Tuesday.

    Duke Energy Florida President Harry Sideris greets St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday at a news conference where both spoke about Hurricane Irma recovery. The event was held at a Florida Department of Transportation lot next to Maximo Park in St. Petersburg, where the city is collecting Irma yard debris which will be mulched and sold to a local tomato farmer. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Leaves, mountains, ice cream and cheese: What's not to like in Burlington, Vt.?


    If I loved Burlington, Vt., during a visit with my daughter when the high was 37 degrees, I feel completely comfortable recommending the city as a great destination for fall, when it's considered one of the top leaf-watching spots in the world.

    Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is the sixth-oldest college established in New England.
  3. Puerto Ricans in Tampa Bay wait with dread as Hurricane Maria approaches island


    TAMPA — As Hurricane Maria swirled in the Atlantic Ocean, Sarykarmen Rivera got a phone call from her parents in Puerto Rico. They had an ominous message.

    Sarykarmen Rivera sits for a portrait with a picture of herself and her family in her hometown of Guayama, Puerto Rico, while at the Univision studios in Tampa on Tuesday. Rivera's mother, father, and extended family are currently in Puerto Rico and she worries about their safety as Hurricane Maria approaches. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B


    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project


    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]