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St. Petersburg sees first RNC-related arrests after men found on downtown rooftop with weapons

ST. PETERSBURG — Two suspected protesters were arrested after they were found playing with a BB gun atop a downtown parking garage, authorities said.

They are the first arrests in the city tied to the Republican National Convention, which kicks off tonight with a huge welcome party at Tropicana Field.

St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said the agency got a call late Thursday from a concerned citizen who saw people on the roof of a parking garage at 100 Second Ave. S.

"That unto itself is odd," Puetz said.

The caller also claimed to have seen the people playing with a gun.

Officers found two men and a female teen runaway hanging out.

They also found several items indicating the people were protesters, including antigovernment T-shirts and a backpack stuffed with a large machete, a pocketknife, tin snips and a pry tool, Puetz said.

The backpack belonged to Trevor Swanson, 19, of St. Petersburg, who is prohibited from having weapons because of a domestic violence injunction.

Police said the other man on the roof, Kyle Shaw, 21, had a BB gun in his waistband.

Authorities also found bandanas, black gloves and a putty that Swanson admitted was for securing a mask, police said.

Shaw, listed as a transient from Largo, was arrested on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Swanson was arrested on charges of possessing burglary tools, violating an injunction and being a delinquent felon in possession of a weapon.

They were booked into the Pinellas County Jail early Friday.

The girl was taken to Pinellas' juvenile detention facility as a runaway but does not face any charges, Puetz said.

As of Saturday night, both men were still in jail — Shaw in lieu of $5,000 bail and Swanson in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Their arrest comes just days after a Tampa businessman found bricks and a pipe on the roof of his downtown building. Police believe those items likely would have been used as weapons during the convention.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at or (727) 893-8643.

St. Petersburg sees first RNC-related arrests after men found on downtown rooftop with weapons 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 10:06pm]
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