Friends look for missing manager

He was last seen since at a Tampa tavern early Sunday.

By CASEY CORA and ROBBYN MITCHELL, Times Staff Writers
Published February 1, 2008

TAMPA-Friends and co-workers gathered Thursday to search for a Carrollwood warehouse manager last seen early Sunday at a tavern on N Dale Mabry Highway.

Police said Timothy Robert Chipley, 34, was packed and ready to go on a trip to Thailand for Muay Thai kickboxing training Wednesday but never made it to the plane.

"His bags are packed. His passport and tickets are still there," said Tampa Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

Co-workers from Nuccio Air Conditioning slipped fliers under the windshield wipers of all the cars in the parking lot at O'Brien's Irish Pub at 11744 N Dale Mabry Highway.

Detectives said Chipley, of 10228 N Oakleaf Ave., was last seen at O'Brien's about 2:15 a.m. Sunday. Friends said it was common for him to walk home from the pub.

Detectives on Thursday were reviewing surveillance video from nearby businesses and interviewing friends, neighbors and regulars at the bar.

"No one knows who he left with, if he left with anyone at all," Davis said.

Family members and close friends weren't happy with the impromptu search.

"His family has been searching for the past three days," said Julie Gates, who has known Chipley for 25 years. "I don't know where this is all coming from. These are all the people from the bar, and they have no real stake in this. We don't want them trampling all over evidence."

Fearing the worst, longtime friend Adam Holt said, "He wouldn't have missed that trip to Thailand for anything."

Chipley is described as 5 feet 9 and about 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue striped shirt and brown boots. He has a shaved head and wears a goatee. He has a tattoo on his right arm.

A candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Friday in the O'Brien's parking lot.