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Sex offender arrested in St. Pete rape on First Avenue N

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a series of rapes in St. Petersburg in 1990.
Antonio Tyrone Flowers was arrested Sunday on an armed sexual battery charge.
Antonio Tyrone Flowers was arrested Sunday on an armed sexual battery charge. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Oct. 4

A man who served more than 20 years in prison after a series of rapes in 1990 has been arrested in connection with a rape last week in St. Petersburg.

Antonio Tyrone Flowers, 49, was arrested in an attack about 6:30 a.m. Sunday in the 3000 block of First Avenue N.

St. Petersburg police said in arrest reports that Flowers saw the victim and called out to her. She walked over to him, he took out a knife, put it to her throat and raped her, reports state.

The victim was able to get away, went to a nearby bus station and used a security guard’s phone to call police.

Flowers, listed as a transient in arrest records, told officers later Sunday the encounter was consensual. When officers tried to get a DNA sample from him, he threatened them and fought with them. He was arrested on charges of armed sexual battery, resisting arrest and threatening a public servant. Bail information was not available Monday.

Flowers is a registered sex offender. In summer 1990, police camped out for a week trying to catch a man who had raped two elderly women in their home. The stakeout ended with the arrest of Flowers as police said he was breaking into the home of a third victim. All three women lived alone.

The three attacks occurred in the same neighborhood and in each case the assailant went into the home through a window. Fingerprints from one of the attacks matched Flowers, police said. In that case, the attacker, while armed with a butcher knife, raped an 81-year-old woman.

Prison records show Flowers was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 1991 on charges of sexual battery, burglary and robbery. He got out in 2012, but was returned to prison two years later after arrests for aggravated stalking and violating the conditions of his sex offender probation.

He served about five years before his release in 2019.

Since then, he has been arrested on charges including felony battery, making a false report to law enforcement, aggravated stalking and threatening a law enforcement officer.