Man with crowbar arrested for panhandling at restaurant in St. Pete

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A homeless man with a lengthy arrest record is accused of going too far as he panhandled customers at a St. Petersburg restaurant.

Thirty-five-year-old Jeremy Norris came armed with a four-foot-long crowbar to beg for money at Casita Taqueria in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District.

Over several years, Norris has been arrested for all kinds of offences, such as having meth, spice, crack cocaine, ammunition and being drunk.

But on Wednesday night, he was arrested for using a crowbar while asking for $4.

“I think that’s frightening,” said Patricia Carbalestrier.

Carbalestrier doesn’t like the crowbar incident at all.

“I would give him $4 just to get him to go away,” she said.

St. Petersburg has an ordinance that prohibits panhandling in the downtown area altogether. Additionally, you can’t do it at a cafe, bus stop, ATM or bank entrance.

But dealing with less than cordial people comes with the territory along Central Avenue and beyond.

“There was a gentleman having to use the restroom in my garden,” said Alison Harris. “I had addressed what he was doing, obviously inappropriate, pulled out a knife on me.”

A night out for food and laughs should not include intimidation to donate, with a crowbar.

“I think I would feel a little safer if I was sitting in a restaurant with people.  If was alone in the streets I would feel very frightened,” Carbalestrier said.

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