By 3 News online staff
An apparent plan to commit a shooting at the Pokemon World Championship has been thwarted by Boston police after authorities were told of threatening social media posts.
James Stumbo, 27, and Kevin Norton, 18, both from Iowa, had no previous criminal history, but now face a number of serious gun charges after police found weapons in their car parked outside the John B. Hynes Convention Centre in Boston, the ABC reports.
Authorities were alerted by the moderator of a private Pokemon group after apparent threats which were posted in the forum which referenced the Columbine shooting, Boston bombing and the Boston Massacre.
Prosecutors say threats were also made to specific people attending the event, held over the weekend, including a Pokemon game moderator who had blocked Norton from the social media forum.
The threats didn't spell out what the pair would do specifically, but "made references" to what they were planning.
Boston police department Commander Superintendent Paul Fitzgerald said had the plan been carried out "they could've done a lot of damage, hurt a lot of people".
Stumbo and Norton had both qualified for the competition and had both driven from Iowa, but were stopped by police from entering the event.
They weren't able to produce a gun license and police seized the vehicle and released the pair pending a search warrant.
During the search of the car, a cache of weapons and ammunition and a hunting knife were found.
"We went by the words they used. The same people who said the things they said, brought the weapons they said they would use," Supt Fitzgerald says.
The tournament is an invitation-only event, with competitors competing for a share of more than $500,000 in scholarship awards.