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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate candidate Todd Wilcox was arrested in Tampa at age 18

Todd Wilcox

Courtesy photo

Todd Wilcox

When Todd Wilcox, now a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, was 18, he spent a night in Hillsborough County Jail.

Then a recent graduate of Robinson High School, Wilcox and two others were arrested after a baseball bat went through the window of a home on his family’s South Tampa block.

“Obviously I turned that around,” Wilcox said. “I got a top-secret security clearance and served in the CIA. That taught me a lesson but didn’t hold me back.”

It was a fight, he said in an interview this week. He didn’t throw the bat, he said, but he was charged with throwing a deadly missile in a dwelling, a felony.

“It was just one of these hoodlum kind of kid antics,” he said.

The charges were later dropped by prosecutors.

Police and court records of the 1985 arrest aren’t clear about what happened. They say that a neighbor heard a noise, came outside to investigate and saw people breaking into his condo. They swung at him, he said, so he went inside. He later found a wooden baseball bat near his window, the arrest report says.

But when the state attorney’s office contacted the neighbor for an interview, he twice skipped an interview appointment.

Other people involved were younger than 17, Wilcox said, but because he was 18 at the time, he spent one night in jail.

“My mom left me there to teach me a lesson,” he said.

Less than three months after it began, though, the case was dismissed.

Years later, in 1993, he had one more run-in with police.

Police in Melbourne Beach ticketed Wilcox for an open beer in his car.

The beer wasn’t actually his, he said. It was his brother’s, but because his brother was underage, Wilcox took the ticket and paid the $135.75 fine.

“It’s better than letting my brother take a hit for underage drinking,” he said. “You take one for your brother from time to time.”

Wilcox, a defense contractor and ex-CIA officer is one of five running in a crowded Republican field to replace Sen. Marco Rubio. The other candidates are Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores; Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach; Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami and Carlos Beruff, a Bradenton developer.

[Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2016 11:22am]


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