Retired Tampa police officer pleads guilty to theft of treasury check

Published May 1, 2017

TAMPA — A retired lawman admitted Thursday that he cashed a U.S. Treasury check his wife had stolen from a Tampa Police Department evidence room.

Thomas A. Hevel pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to a single charge of theft of government property related to the disappearance of the $4,550 check.

His plea agreement tied the theft to his wife, Jeanette Hevel, a former detective who was convicted in 2013 of stealing several tax refund checks that were made payable to other people.

The check in question, which was payable to a person with the initials R.L., disappeared in October 2011. Thomas Hevel obtained it from his wife, then deposited it into a bank account, according to the plea agreement. He used the proceeds to pay his November 2011 rent.

The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. No sentencing date has been set. Thomas Hevel retired from TPD a year before the theft.

His wife, a 27-year TPD veteran who was once named Officer of the Year, was fired in 2013 after the thefts were discovered. Authorities determined she stole more than $90,000, much of it from fraudulently obtained IRS tax refund checks that police had confiscated during identity theft investigations. In 2015, a federal judge sentenced her to probation.

This story has been updated to correct Jeanette Hevel's former role at the Tampa Police Department.