A Pinellas County sheriff’s sergeant was demoted to deputy — and could have been fired — after an investigation found that he wrongfully took more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition from the agency for his own use.
In January, according to agency records, then-Sgt. Bryan Bingham worked as an adjunct instructor during a training session at the Sheriff’s Office’s firing range. During the training, he asked a supervisor if the agency would issue practice ammunition to employees, and the supervisor told him it would, “within reason and depending on what it is.”
Bingham didn’t request ammunition during that conversation, according to the internal investigation. Later the same day, though, he went to a deputy who had access to the ammunition room with a request for more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers. When the deputy called in a corporal, Bingham said the supervisor he spoke with earlier had already approved the request.
Bingham took the ammunition home in his personal vehicle, stored it in his garage and planned to use it at a family-owned location in another state, according to the investigation.
His take included thousands of rounds of .45-caliber, .380-caliber and 9 mm ammunition, as well as hundreds of .223 rifle cartridges and a handful of shotgun shells. Based on prices listed online, the ammunition could have a retail value between $3,500 and $6,000.
It’s unclear what sparked the investigation into Bingham’s ammunition usage. But according to the investigation, once confronted, he admitted that the amount he took was “excessive.”
“In the grand scheme of things, it was just too much,” he told investigators.
The investigation ended with a recommended discipline ranging from a five-day suspension to termination, according to the results, which were publicly posted Monday. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri handed down the demotion.
According to Bingham’s LinkedIn page, he’s been a sergeant in the Sheriff’s Office’s Violent Offender Warrants Unit since 2013. A Tampa Bay Times story from the same year identified him as the supervisor of that unit.
In 2016, Bingham was given a 56-hour suspension after initiating an unauthorized high-speed chase that reached speeds of more than 100 mph.