St Petersburg Times, Hillsborough County

Deputies say teens filmed firebomb attack
By Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
published June 17, 2003

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TAMPA - Two teenage boys were arrested on arson charges after sheriff's deputies said they threw a firebomb into a vacant, boarded-up grocery store and videotaped their exploits.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Monday, the two teens - who are not being named because they are juveniles - ripped plywood off a window of the closed U Save store at 5501 Williams Road. They then smashed the window and climbed inside, said Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies.

The pair, aged 14 and 15, had a glass bottle filled with gasoline, with a rag stuffed in the top. They lit the rag and threw the bottle at a wall. Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the two videotaped the entire thing.

A passer-by saw the two inside the store and called authorities. Deputies arrived as the teens were leaving.

"We got them as they were coming out," said Carter, "camcorder in hand."

The fire damaged only one wall. The boys are charged with arson, burglary, criminal mischief and possession of a firebomb.