A Melbourne man’s booking on Thursday at the Orange County jail resulted from a short investigation of a shooting threat reported earlier this month to Megaplex, an upcoming furry fandom convention in Orlando, deputies said.
Organizers reached out to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 10, relaying an email they received two days prior — under the subject line “A Threat To Safety At Your Convention!” — containing a screenshot of a since-deleted Tumblr post promising violence at Megaplex, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.
Though the message included the username “sparklesdoggo,” investigators were skeptical over how the screenshot appeared to show editing tools, which indicated the image was captured by the person who wrote it, the affidavit described.
Deputies made contact over the phone with the person behind the “sparklesdoggo” username, who denied writing the post and informed investigators they believed it was authored by “Lucky Elephant” — a username of 23-year-old Anthony Stewart — because he’s done similar things in the past, the affidavit states.
Come Jan. 17, mutual aid was granted for a deputy’s visit to Stewart’s Melbourne residence, beckoning him over to an unmarked patrol car as he was seen walking across an apartment complex parking lot. Stewart sat in the front passenger’s seat after expressing willingness to talk, deputies said.
According to the affidavit, the deputy informed Stewart of the purpose of the visit, a threatening post made on social media toward Megaplex. Stewart initially denied knowing what the convention was and, when asked about any issues between him and sparklesdoggo, advised the deputy of cyberstalking and harassment problems he claimed were ongoing for months, the document states.
The deputy showed Stewart the post and asked him to be honest, according to the affidavit. At this point, Stewart allegedly told the deputy the post was real, yet claimed a shooting would not happen and there was no active threat. The deputy found this response concerning, communicating as such and pointing toward the post’s misspellings to assert their belief Stewart wrote it, the affidavit describes.
Stewart then, looking at the floorboard, confirmed he wrote the post, deputies said. Some time later, Stewart allegedly stated he made the message appear as if sparklesdoggo had written it before privately sending it to someone who he knew would report it to Megaplex, according to the affidavit.
Stewart faces a charge of written or electronic threats to kill, do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, booking records show. He is currently being held on $50,000 bond.