BOSTON (CBS) — Boston police have arrested two men and seized weapons over violent social media threats directed at attendees of the Pokemon World Championships.
Police said in a statement they received information about the threats on Thursday and the two men from Iowa were stopped attempting to enter the event at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston hours later.
“Detectives were informed that the suspects had driven to the event from Iowa and were in possession of several firearms in their vehicle,” police said. “Officers seized the vehicle, and the suspects were released pending a search warrant.”
Detectives executed a search warrant for the vehicle on Friday and found “one 12-gauge Remington shotgun, one DPM5 Model AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife.”
An arrest warrant was then issued for the men, who were taken into custody at a Saugus hotel.
Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, both of Iowa, are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other “firearm-related charges.” They’re expected to be arraigned Monday at Boston Municipal Court.
Organizers anticipated a crowd of nearly 5,000 Pokemon fans from more than 30 countries converging on Boston for the three-day event, including 1,000 elite players competing for $2 million in prizes.
The Pokémon Company International released a statement Sunday afternoon regarding the arrests:
“Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue. We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with the Boston Police Department,” the company said. “Due to quick action, the potential threat was resolved. The Pokémon Company International takes the safety of our fans seriously and will continue to ensure proper security measures are a priority.”
A Facebook post from Stumbo Wednesday morning shows two weapons on the back of a car. The post read: “Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds. Boston here we come!!”
Norton apparently responded to the post, writing, “with killing the competition.”
The firearms on the car match the ones seized by Boston Police.
WBZ security analyst Ed Davis says the capture of the two men was a close call and a team effort.
“A very very dangerous situation was averted with the work of the public and the police,” Davis said.
“[The suspects] were equipped to do an enormous amount of damage in a small space,” he said.