WESLEY CHAPEL, FL Jan 24 2017 — As Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel prepares for its grand opening, one of its security guards faces criminal charges after Pasco County deputies say they found him in possession of an AK-47-style firearm and marijuana.
Stephen Clifford Ford, 53, of Sarasota was brought into custody at the 3173 Cypress Ridge Blvd. ice rink on Sunday, Jan. 22, according to a probable cause affidavit. Deputies say they were called to the property Sunday evening after Ford was allegedly seen carrying an “AK-47 style firearm about his person in full public view.”
Ford, the report said, brought the weapon with him to question a person about being on the property. That person, in turn, notified deputies.
When deputies spoke with Ford, they noted he wasn’t wearing a security guard uniform. Deputies reportedly asked about the firearm and Ford “walked into his RV to retrieve it – at which time deputies could smell the odor of marijuana coming from inside,” an email from the sheriff’s office said.
When asked about the smell, deputies say Ford admitted to having a small amount of marijuana inside. Deputies were given permission to look inside the RV and found a pipe and about 13.5 grams of marijuana, the email said.
Contact was made with Center Ice staff that did confirm ford as the security guard for the property, but at no time did they authorize him to carry any type of firearm or contact and engage any subject on the property with a firearm,” the email said. Ford also lacked “any type of security guard licenses that would allow him to carry a firearm for his position,” the email said.
The weapon in question was described in the email as an “AK-47-style pistol grip rifle,” according to the sheriff’s office email.
Ford was charged with openly carrying a firearm, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remained in the Pasco County Jail Monday in lieu of $800 bond, according to jail records. All three charges are misdemeanors.
Florida Hospital Center Ice is a new multi-rink skating facility that opens later this week.