News » Crime

Florida Cops Nab Suspect in Gay Bar Hate Graffiti Case

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday March 15, 2023

William Yacko
William Yacko   (Source:St. Petersburgh Police Department)

Police in St. Petersburgh, Florida, identified a suspect seen in security camera footage defacing a gay bar with a homophobic slur. In a twist, law enforcement didn't have to search far for him; the suspect was already in custody on another charge when he was identified, local news channel WFLA reported.

"The St. Petersburg Police Department said at around 4 p.m. Saturday, the employees of Cocktail, a gay bar located on Central Avenue, saw a homophobic slur written on the front of their business," the news station recounted.

"After checking their surveillance camera, the employees saw that a man had written the slur overnight."

The police were quick to identify the suspect as someone they already had locked up. A media release from the police department said that "surveillance video shows a suspect writing the derogatory comment with a marker," and added: "William Yacko (DOB 09/09/1965) has been identified as the suspect. He was already booked into the Pinellas County Jail on unrelated charges.

"Yacko has been charged with Felony Criminal Mischief (Prior Conviction)," the release continued. "Due to the nature of the derogatory comments towards the LGBT+ Community, this charge will have a hate speech enhancement added.

The media release went on to say, "The investigation is still ongoing. No additional information is available at this time."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.