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Boy, 10, placed under arrest

The 10-year-old first went to police as a victim with a story of gruesome abuse. He said he had been recruited to sell drugs, then burned 50 times on the face by a drug dealer.

But prosecutors dropped the aggravated child abuse charge against Robert Bligen in October after the 10-year-old accuser told inconsistent stories and failed to show up for appointments.

Last Sunday, St. Petersburg police went to the 10-year-old boy. This time, he was under arrest, charged with throwing explosive devices at Lake Vista Park.

The boy, who is not being named because of his age, faces two felony charges of making a destructive device and another misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence.

"It's unusual for a 10-year-old to have these kinds of problems," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Priscilla Williams, 25, the boy's mother, did not respond to a request for comment.

The boy is enrolled as a fifth-grader at Hamilton Disston, a center for severely emotionally disturbed children. He was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center after his arrest.

The latest incident began on a Sunday afternoon at the park. Police arrived after getting a complaint and found the 10-year-old mixing household chemicals in 16-ounce bottles, then throwing them in the air.

As they tried to arrest the five-foot, 95-pound youth, he thrashed and kicked wildly, police said.

Trenia Cox, the president of the St. Petersburg branch of the NAACP, said she was saddened by the arrest.

"To have such an early incident at age 10 scares me," Cox said. "It says to me that we have a child that needs some guidance."

Police said it does not appear the boy was trying to hurt anyone.

He just stated: "I don't want to go."

Times staff writer Curtis Krueger contributed to this article. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

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