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 [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.