Florida Keys

Fireworks tossed outside Keys bar causes ‘Orlando’ panic

A tourist is accused of tossing fireworks in front of Rick's Bar.
A tourist is accused of tossing fireworks in front of Rick's Bar.

Two men from Pinellas County were jailed early Sunday morning after police said their idea of a prank was to twice toss fireworks into the 200 block of Duval Street in Key West, causing bystanders to panic.

“Several tourists said they thought the explosions were gunfire and were comparing the incident to the shootings in Orlando recently,” Officer Brian Leahy wrote in his arrest report about the 1:37 a.m. Sunday disruption outside of Rick’s Bar. Bar security staff flagged down police and pointed out the two suspects.

Police described the fireworks as large bomb-types branded as Happy Ending and said one had hit a tourist’s foot but the woman was uninjured and wouldn’t talk to police.

Christopher Stamas, 36, a contractor from Tarpon Springs, was booked for cocaine possession and evidence destroying, both felonies, and disorderly conduct and possession of drug equipment, both misdemeanors. Stamas tried to secretly throw to the ground a small metal container, which contained 0.6 grams of cocaine, the arrest report states.

Theofilos Mamouzelos, 36, of Dunedin, who works as a project manager, was booked for misdemeanor disorderly conduct after police said he was spotted on security video crouching behind Stamas and tossing fireworks into Key West’s most famous street.

Police said they found three firework bombs from the pockets of Stamas’ green cargo shorts while Mamouzelos had one more stashed in his camouflage cargo shorts. Stamas was released the next day after posting $9,000 bond. Mamouzelos posted $328 bond.

Heroin arrest

A Key West taxi driver found passed out behind the wheel of his running car Sunday afternoon is facing a felony heroin possession charge.

Paul Michael Schmidt, 63, on Tuesday remained in the Stock Island jail on a $1,000 bond.

Schmidt was found about 2 p.m. Sunday behind the wheel of a black 2000 Ford Crown Victoria that had driven up onto a curb and was still running at the Garrison Bight Marina, 1801 N. Roosevelt Blvd, police reported. The car was stuck in reverse with Schmidt’s foot on the brake, according to the arrest report.

Schmidt told police he was fine to drive, but officers said they found in his pocket a dirty white sock holding nine capped syringes and a table spoon that contained an off-white powder. A small plastic bag of powder filled with powder fell out of his pocket when he removed his hand.

Asked to identify the powder, Schmidt would only say it was “a downer” he had injected into his arm. Police said it later tested positive for cocaine and booked Schmidt for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen