South Saint Petersburg Incidents
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
South St Petersburg is the poorer, more crime riddled part of Saint Petersburg, Florida. Stay away, as it will drag you down inevitably with it. If you do live there, you will encounter incidents which may change your life. Even if you live in North St Petersburg, you will be caught up in the mess that is south of Central Ave. I was.
In my time in St Petersburg, I had a few run ins with South St Pete types. I am a stupidly fearless type, who would walk the streets at night, so maybe I had some encounters that others would not have:
Incident One – Assault with A Deadly Bottle
I was walking back from a Historic Kenwood neighborhood meeting down Central Ave one Thursday night, when some South St Pete profile kids called out to me in the street. I ignored them so one of them followed me and threw a bottle at me, which hit me. Fortunately, it was just a empty plastic water bottle. I called the cops. I don’t know if they attended or not, I was going to hang around.
Incident Two – Burglary Of The Hand That Feeds You
We hired a young South St Pete kid, Gilbert Brown, to mow our lawn. He needed the money because he wanted to buy a car soon. He was fifteen. He returned some weeks later. I was in my office, busy, and ignored his knocking on the door and ringing of the bell, even though I could see him. When there was no answer, he tried the door, and found it was open. He then left. A couple of hours later, he returned, with two of his friends. They went through the same door knocking, bell ringing routine, and then tried the door again. Again, it was open, so they let themselves in.
I then came out of my office and confronted the three intruders. Gilbert and his friends looked me right in the eye, and got the hell out of there. Gilbert is a bit tubby, but I remember his friends as being skinny. One had a white bandanna or towel wrapped around the top of his head. Being a fool, I didn’t call the police straight away, as I didn’t want him to get into trouble. I thought I’d call him and rebuke him for his home invasion. I found his number but it was disconnected. I did eventually call the cops a couple of days later, but even though I gave them the phone number and that his name was Gilbert, I never heard anything back.
Anyway, Gilbert’s family are no fools. They have moved out of St Petersburg. Unfortunately you can take the kid out of South St Petersburg, but you can’t take South St Petersburg out of the kid. Even though he lives in Wildwood FL, he had made his way back to St Pete a few times, and has been arrested three times just in 2012. Two of the charges were VOP Burglary, which I guess means he has honed his skills in breaking and entering since 2007. You can see a picture of him here, at
And no, I don’t know what is going on with the hair. It looks pretty odd.
Incident Three – The Mouth From The South
Jeff Danner, our CIty of St Petersburg local councilor, was friends with our immediate neighbors, the O’Connors, and his kids were friends with their daughter. One day, one of his daughters, I think it was Alyx, was visiting the O’Connors with a male friend of hers. Some South St Pete kid came riding around on his bicycle and started to make lewd comments to her. Her male friend took issue with this, and approached the cyclist. He dropped his bike and shaped up to fight.
At this stage I approached the confrontation and the South St Pete kid thought that discretion was the better part of valor, and took off, yelling threats about bringing back his brother. Fleeing and eluding are South St Pete athletic specialties. Just check the sheriff’s office who is in jail listings, you will see lots of them.
Incident Four – Homophobia Misdirected
I was driving back from a business meeting in Sarasota on July 3, 2007, on First Ave South. Some dope in front of me signaled to turn left to turn into a side street, and then swung back out into First Ave S, after having decided they were going the wrong way. This got me pretty steamed. When I got to my turn at 23rd St, I noticed that a similar car to the previous one was behind me. As I was waiting at First Ave North for the traffic to clear, I was looking back at this car in the mirror.
Maybe they saw me, or didn’t like that I was actually waiting for the road to clear before proceeding, so they honked their horn. I gave them the finger, and then the road was clear so I move through. They then followed me to my home where I had parked.
When I got out, the two of them got out. Both South St Pete criminal profile types. The car was a 4 door Suzuki sedan with those paper plates that indicate it had only been recently purchased. The car was bling (gold) colored. The windows had been heavily tinted. The only thing these two dealers hadn’t managed to do yet was get the rims done. One had of course been able to afford to get a gold tooth at some point.
An oral confrontation ensued, where these hoods demanded to know if this was where I lived. A stream of abuse followed, and since St Petersburg (Gay and Lesbian) Pride had occurred on the previous weekend just a few blocks away, it was natural that they would let me know how much contempt they had for someone who would “take it up the ass”. Not in that category myself, but always remarkable how victims of oppression seek to oppress others.
The two gangsters eventually departed, and being well drilled in avoiding leaving any information about themselves, drove off at speed, in reverse, so I couldn’t note down their plates. Coincidentally, about 30 seconds after they sped off, one of St Pete’s finest came rolling past. Too late to see the confrontation unfortunately.
Now, in the more than five years since, I have rarely seen a Suzuki sedan. It was probably a Forenza. You’d think it would be easy to track down a newly sold gold Suzuki Forenza. I mentioned it to Office Robert Arrison at the Historic Kenwood neighborhood meeting, and he laughed it off saying there would be no way to trace them as so many cars are sold each day. I disagree. Those cars are not very common. Maybe Officer Arrison should look around when he is driving.