ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - You may never have given a second thought to those little glass tubes with a rose inside. They're usually for sale near the counter at convenient stores. But St. Petersburg police have confiscated thousands of the little "gifts" and handed out citations to the stores selling them.
Police say most people who buy them don't want the rose. They use the glass tube as a crack pipe, making the trinkets paraphernalia.
"I can tell you, in 16 years, I've never seen any of these items sold on Valentine's Day," said Major Antonio Gilliam. "What I have seen on numerous occasions are these glass tubes been utilized to ingest narcotics mostly crack cocaine."
They're often sold for a just few bucks. St. Pete police are cracking down on the crack pipes. They cited eight stores for selling them; a violation of City Ordinance 20-119: "The illegal sale of certain open ended glass tubes."
"[We] have to believe these convenience store clerks and owners are aware of the true use of these tubes," Major Gilliam said.
Police confiscated 6,695 glass pipes. The fine is only $93 per store, but the penalty increases for future violations and could lead to a complete closure.
"We hope that one fine would be all that it takes," the Major said.
FOX 13 visited the Citgo on 38th Avenue North and The Central V Mart on Central Ave., which were both cited for selling the pipes. Employees were not able to comment.