Friday, February 23, 2018
Public safety

Police find cache of guns inside felon's St. Petersburg home

ST. PETERSBURG — Police discovered a stockpile of guns, ammunition and body armor inside a convicted felon's home on Thursday thanks to a tip by a concerned resident, authorities said.

Jason Deon Thomas, 31, of 220 27th St. N, faces numerous gun and drug charges, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Thomas had two jobs, police said: He owns JT's The Perfect Tattoo Shop at 3001 34th St. N — and he sells cocaine.

On Thursday, police, in coordination with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, executed a search warrant at Thomas' home and business.

They found 30 guns, including a fully automatic rifle, two sawed-off shotguns, various semiautomatic assault weapons, various supplies of ammunition, bulletproof vests, body armor, helmets, gas masks and a security system. There was cocaine and $7,390 in the home.

Thomas was booked in a federal jail facility in Tampa and had his first appearance Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins.

The incident comes less than a week after St. Petersburg police relaunched their gun-bounty program aimed at getting illegal guns off the street. Tipsters can get up to $1,500 for information that leads to an arrest and weapons charge.

Proffitt said this arrest wasn't the result of that program. He said a concerned resident recently called police about Thomas selling drugs. Detectives learned of the guns through their investigation.

"This highlights the whole thing we've been talking about," he said. "We need the public's help to get these things off the street."

Records show Thomas was arrested in the past in Florida for selling and possessing drugs, including in August, when he was convicted on a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and sentenced to two years probation.

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