By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
A police report and subsequent County 10 news story that a transient was trying to snatch a child outside a private Catholic school in Riverton were exaggerated, Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun says.
LeBrun dispatched a press release Friday afternoon, stating that a mother who called police Thursday actually believed the transient, 57-year-old Martin Harris, was trying to snatch a purse or a child’s backpack from her vehicle – not the child.
The original police notation said that a man later identified as Harris tried to grab the woman’s 6-year-old daughter and the girl’s backpack. County 10 then published a story based on the report.
“Upon review of the case,” wrote LeBrun in his statement, “it appears the person reached into a vehicle that was occupied by a mother and her child. The mother stated she believed he was either reaching for a purse or a child’s backpack.”
It’s unclear whether the man touched the purse or backpack, LeBrun said, adding that he immediately left the area.
Also undermining the severity of the incident, LeBrun indicated, is that the mother reported the incident about 30 minutes after it happened.
“Although disturbing, there is no belief on the part of the investigating police officers that the subject tried to remove the child from the vehicle or kidnap the child,” according to the statement.
Riverton Police Department officers arrested Harris on suspicion of breach of the peace, LeBrun said. The RPD call log indicates that Harris was arrested 44 minutes after midnight as Friday began, yelling and appearing intoxicated near a Redbox movie rental kiosk.