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

Published Aug. 26, 2012

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 kstanley@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8643.

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