A local St. Petersburg man is behind bars today after a bizarre event occurred while fishing. Tim Pope, age 64, was arrested late Sunday evening by police officers for tampering with a crime scene. Pope was fishing in a Florida river early Sunday morning, which his wife says he has been doing every Sunday for the past 20 years.
“Ever since we moved to Florida 20 years ago, he would go to that river and fish every Sunday,” said Mrs. Pope. “If some people go to Church or watch football as their religion of choice, then Tim’s religions is fishing.”
While out early this morning, Pope inadvertently hooked a human corpse – something that any die-hard fisherman can tell you is not as nice as hooking a huge bass. Like any good fisherman, though, when realizing that what he had pulled to shore was of a sub-par nature, he threw the body back in the water.
“I haven’t gotten to speak to him to much, but he told me he didn’t know what to do with the body. At first, pulling it in, he thought he had caught the biggest fish of his life. When he discovered it wasn’t a fish at all, he just unhooked it and tossed it back. [Tim] doesn’t own a cell phone, so a few hours later when he finally was finished and arrived home, he told me the story and I had him call the police. Stupid me, because their first stop after the call was to our house to arrest him for tampering with the body!” said Mrs. Pope.
Tim Pope is still currently in lockup in St. Petersburg, after refusing to take any money out of his retirement savings to post bail. If he’s convicted of a crime, he could be facing several years behind bars. The arresting officers have refused to make a statement, but the station has reportedly been receiving a lot of angry calls from local town residents.
“I don’t care what anyone says about it,” said Pope during his initial police interview. “It’s not a big deal. I didn’t kill the guy, I just pulled him in. What was I supposed to do? It’s not like he was going to fit in my cooler. Would you have arrested me if I’d caught a tire in my line and threw that back? Littering is a crime too, you know!”
“Tim is friends with a lot of people in our neighborhood, and I know that along with myself, people have been calling the police station night and day expressing how they feel. My husband doesn’t deserve to be jailed for this; it was a fisherman’s instinct to throw the body back in the river,” said Mrs. Pope.
Police have continued to search for the body over several miles of river, but so far have come up empty-handed. Reports indicate that police are actually using Pope’s confiscated fishing rod and lures in attempt to hook the body for a second time.