Police Find Bricks, Pipes On Downtown Tampa Rooftop
The building is at the corner of Florida Avenue and Tyler Street in downtown Tampa.
Tampa Police confiscated bricks and pipes from the roof of a downtown building.
The building is at the corner of Florida Avenue and Tyler Street in downtown Tampa and is owned by Dr. Joseph Papia, sitting seven blocks from the nearest park or recognized demonstration venue.
Also at the location was graffiti that indicated the rooftop was a storage location for anarchists planning to bring the items into otherwise peaceful demonstrations in downtown.
"The graffiti was related to RNC activity," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said. "We're happy that the owner of the building notified us because it tells us that this partnership between ourselves and the community is working. For us, finding those items was not a suprise. Things like this happen when you're leading up to an event like an RNC."
Castor assured the media that the police department has planned for contingencies should items such as the ones found on the rooftop be used as weapons by anarchist groups. The graffiti was a form of communication according to Castor.
"There are certain symbols by different groups to signify places to stay or find weapons," Castor said. "While this is concerning, it is not a surprise. It is our job to locate these types of items and try find the individuals who placed them to keep them from doing anything. There are people coming here bent on destruction, that's who left those items on that rooftop."
According to Castor, an investigation is ongoing, but the group involved has not been identified.
The items were discovered on the easily accessible roof top when Papia and an associate went on the rooftop to measure the area surrounding a stairwell that leads up to his rooftop in order to create a blockade. Upon climbing onto the roof, they found the items and the graffiti and notified police.
"There was a painting of a guy in a black hood with the number 99 next to it," Vita said. "Next to it was a pile of a dozen or so bricks. He (the associate) had been up here a few weeks before doing some work and didn't see them so we knew they had been placed there recently. The police took the bricks as evidence and recognized the graffiti."
"We're watching all the buildings downtown in conjunction with the downtown business owners," Castor said. "We have the luxury having helicopters looking for things like this as well as our solid waste people. It is not uncommon to see something like this away from the event area."