ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — A tourist from Pittsburgh has been arrested and charged with disorderly intoxication after allegedly causing a disturbance at a Florida restaurant. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Anthony Lessa, 23, threw gator nuggets and engaged in lewd behavior with a manatee statue after being asked to leave the establishment.
The incident occurred on Friday at two different locations in St. Pete Beach. The locations that Lessa visited are the Postcard Inn On The Beach and Rick’s Reef Restaurant. Lessa is accused of throwing gator nuggets into Rick’s Reef Restaurant, with deputies finding more in his pants pocket upon his arrest. “Gator bites,” as stated on the restaurant’s menu, are pieces of fresh, fried alligator meat. When asked to leave, he became belligerent and sexually assaulted the manatee statue at the restaurant.
When confronted by staff, Lessa reportedly became belligerent and proceeded to sexually molest a manatee statue in the presence of other patrons. As he fled the scene, he ran towards his hotel, the Postcard Inn On The Beach. The hotel manager contacted authorities after Lessa continued to act disorderly near the front desk, yelling and screaming obscenities at the staff.
Lessa refused to reveal his room number and was removed from the hotel. However, he remained in the parking lot, causing further disturbances and delaying traffic. His pupils were dilated, and he had a strong odor of alcohol when law enforcement apprehended him.
Throughout the arrest, Lessa exhibited a heightened state and short-term memory issues, repeatedly questioning why he was being taken into custody. The arrest affidavit states that Lessa continued to ask deputies why he was being arrested on “a loop.”
He is now facing charges of disorderly intoxication and potentially other related offenses. Arrest records show that he was taken into custody near the hotel and transported to jail. According to arrest records, he was released on his own recognizance since then.
This bizarre incident has raised concerns about public behavior and the impact of excessive alcohol consumption among tourists. Florida officials and hospitality industry representatives are likely to explore measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.