Handguns belonging to shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and a St. Petersburg police officer were recovered Wednesday night, following the arrests of three people accused of a string of vehicle break-ins throughout St. Petersburg.
Clem, who didn't appear on his morning radio show Thursday, reported two handguns and an honorary sheriff's badge taken from his car Wednesday night after a burglary at a St. Petersburg bowling alley.
The guns were among six weapons recovered by St. Petersburg police that night after undercover officers arrested three suspects. Also among the recovered items: a police-issue Glock .40-caliber handgun that St. Petersburg police Maj. Donnie Williams said was stolen Saturday from his personal vehicle.
Police arrested two men and a juvenile, restraining one suspect with a Taser stun gun. They are seeking a fourth suspect who ran away.
The incidents began with the burglary of a vehicle at the 900 block of North Shore Drive NE, where a witness provided officers with a license plate number and described the white Chevrolet Tahoe the suspects were driving.
A short time later, according to police, the men burglarized four vehicles at the Sunrise Lanes bowling alley, 6393 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, including Clem's 2005 Chevrolet Suburban. The radio personality reported a fanny pack was taken from his vehicle containing credit cards, a bank card, two handguns and an honorary sheriff's badge from Indiana; Clem has a concealed weapons permit.
Undercover officers found the suspects' SUV and arrested them at 38th Avenue N and 49th Street in St. Petersburg. Police recovered the guns owned by Clem and Williams, along with other items reported stolen; they are still investigating whether the three other guns or the Chevrolet Tahoe were also stolen.
Nicholas Reynard McCant, 19, Mario E. McCant, 20, and Kevatae Jermaine Caldwell, 16, were arrested on charges of burglary, including grand theft, auto burglary, resisting arrest and violation of parole, according to police. Caldwell, a juvenile, was named by police because he is charged with a felony.
Clem's boss at WHPT-FM (The Bone 102.5), the Tampa station that airs his top-rated morning radio show, said the host decided to sleep in Thursday after staying up late Wednesday night dealing with the burglary. His program airs at 6 a.m. weekdays.
"If it would have happened to me, I would have done the same thing," said Jay O'Connor, Tampa market manager for WHPT owner Cox Radio. "I'd rather he get a good night's sleep than feel the need to come in and do a bad show."
According to records from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Clem also accidentally left one of his guns inside a fanny pack with his concealed weapons permit at a Taco Bell restaurant in 2004. That gun was returned to Clem without incident.