LAKELAND - A convicted felon was arrested Wednesday afternoon after deputies found what appeared to be a rocket launcher in the trunk of his car, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
A tipster told authorities that Hiram Melvin, 56, of 2850 New Tampa Highway, might have guns in his car. Deputies went to his job at 1301 Memorial Blvd. about 2:30 p.m. and asked to search his 1979 Buick Riviera. He agreed, the sheriff's office said.
A weapon that looked like a rocket launcher was found in the trunk, along with a .22-caliber bolt-action rifle and silencer, Sheriff Grady Judd said.
When the state fire marshal's office and bomb squad members investigated, they determined the rocket launcher was not real, Judd said.
Melvin was charged with possession of a hoax weapon of mass destruction, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of a Class 3 device -- the silencer -- and violation of probation.
Melvin was on probation after pleading no contest in 2004 to felony charges of dealing in stolen property, larceny and other charges, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.