Police Arrest Two After Alleged Facebook Threats Targeting Pokemon World Championships
Boston police arrested two Iowa men at a Saugus hotel Saturday after learning of threats of violence made over social media to attendees of the 12th Pokemon World Championships and finding a cache of weapons inside the car they drove to Massachusetts.
James Austin Stumbo, 27, and Kevin Norton, 18, are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other firearm related charges. They will be arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court. Both men were invited to play in the tournament.
Police say they received a tip from security at the Hynes Convention Center, host of this year’s Pokemon World Championship, after Stumbo had posted the below picture to a Facebook group titled “Mayhem Pokemon Crew,” with the caption, “Kevin Norton and I are ready for Worlds Boston here we come!!!”
When another user wished them good luck, Norton responded, “With killing the competition?”
Police say Stumbo and Norton were stopped from entering the event Thursday. Stumbo told police his Facebook post was taken out of context, reports the Daily Beast, while Norton allegedly told police where their car was parked and that there were weapons inside.
When asked, the suspects could not produce a license to carry firearms, police say. Though their vehicle was seized, police say Stumbo and Norton were released pending a warrant. Upon obtaining one, police say they found a 12-gauge Remington shotgun, a DPM5 Model AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife in the car. Norton allegedly told police that the shotgun was his, and the AR-15 belonged to Stumbo.
Boston police arrested Stumbo and Norton at a hotel in Saugus the following day with help from Saugus police.
“This incident is a good example of private security reaching out to their local Boston police district and relaying information to detectives and [Boston Regional Intelligence Center] analysts in order to identify the very real threat,” said Paul Fitzgerald, commander superintendent of the BPD’s Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis, in a release. “The BPD detectives and collaborating agencies did a great job in the stop and prevention of a potential tragedy.”
“Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue,” the Pokemon Company International said in a statement Sunday. “We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with the Boston Police Department. Due to quick action, the potential threat was resolved. The Pokemon Company International takes the safety of our fans seriously and will continue to ensure proper security measures are a priority.”