LARGO, Fla. - Nearly a half-dozen black-powder cannons were stolen off a pirate ship being stored in Largo this past weekend.
The Ye Mystic Krewe of Santa Margarita, which is based in Clearwater, stores two floats at a storage yard in Largo.
One of the floats is a Spanish galleon pirate ship that the group built. They use the float in the Gasparilla Parade, as well as other events throughout the year.
According to one of the group’s founders, Jeff DiPolito, someone hopped the chain-link fence into the storage yard and ransacked the boat. They ripped off the bathroom door on the float, trashed the bathroom, took off decorations and threw them on the ground.
Worst of all, they took a mortar and 4-5 black-powder cannons attached to the ship. The cannons are one of the things that made the Santa Margarita unique and are very difficult to replace, DiPolito said.
“It’s just malicious, mean vandalism,” DiPolito said. “A punch in the gut is the best way I can describe it.”
DiPolito estimates the damage to the float to be about $1,500. The group has offered a $600 reward leading to the arrest of the vandals. DiPolito believes they are teenagers.
Largo Police are investigating.
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UPDATE: The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.