Chris Seslar, the owner of The Zone Lounge, a popular venue on E. Tarpon Avenue, said it sounded like two bottle rockets went off shortly before the homemade bomb exploded early Sunday.
TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. -- A makeshift bomb damaged a bar and several apartments on Sunday morning, shortly before someone stole the ambulance that responded to the explosion, according to the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
Chris Seslar, the owner of The Zone Lounge, a popular venue on E. Tarpon Avenue, said it sounded like two bottle rockets went off shortly before the homemade bomb exploded early Sunday. It was concealed on a roof between The Zone and neighboring apartments. The explosion could be felt blocks away as it shattered windows, sending glass everywhere.
At the time, The Zone was still open for business. But before the explosion rocked the venue, Seslar had chosen to close the upstairs bar for the night. If any patrons had been at the upstairs bar or in the bathrooms nearby, they could have died from the impact, according to Tarpon Springs Police.
"Every one of those apartments has somebody in it. So when they put the bomb up here, they knew that people were going to be involved," Seslar said.
Officers believe the explosion may be linked to a "Greek bomb," a tradition sometimes seen as orthodox Greeks celebrate Easter. For them, Easter was this past Sunday.
"If tradition threatens lives and destroys property, it is time to reconsider the traditions," said Tarpon Springs Police Captain Barbara Templeton.
But the trouble didn't end there. When medical personnel responded to The Zone to care for two customers hurt by the blast, someone drove away with their ambulance. Police were able to track the vehicle with GPS to the city's water treatment plant about a block away.
According to police, the man, Christopher Povlik, was armed with a flashlight stolen from the water treatment plant, along with a potato. He used multiple names to identify himself to police, including "Maggie," "Shadow," and "Spartacus."
Right now, police believe he is not involved in the explosion at The Zone. The Tarpon Springs Police Department is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the bomb. If you have any information about this incident, you're urged to call (727) 938-2849.
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