GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A man was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly tried to kidnap a young girl walking to school with her mother.
According to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, at around 7 a.m. a woman was walking with her young children on Lily Street and White Horse Road when Robert Daniel Mistretta, 66, allegedly approached the woman and attempted to grab and pull the child away from her.
“A man who she did not know approached them and actually grabbed a hold of the child and began trying to walk that child away,” Lt. Ryan Flood, Greenville Co. Sheriff’s Office said. “Thankful the mother was there and acted quickly and was able to regain control of that child and pull her to safety.”
The mother was able to get the child back from Mistretta and resume walking safely, according to investigators.
Deputies later located Mistretta on Burdine Drive and arrested him. They said the child’s student ID was in his possession, which they claim was torn from the child’s lanyard during the struggle.
“Whenever we were able to locate him a short time later, we actually found that students ID in his possession still,” Flood said. “Thankfully that child is ok, and that man is in custody.”
Deputies said they found Mistretta a short time later, thanks to the help of the girl’s mother who they said provided an accurate description as well as a picture of of Mistretta.
“This is an extremely rare occurrence,” Flood said. “I can’t think of another time that this has happened. We are super thankful the mother was there, was vigilant, and was able to act as quickly as she did.”
Mistretta was taken to the Greenville County Detention Center on charges of kidnapping and petit larceny.
During a bond hearing Wednesday, Mistretta was given a $2,100 bond for the larceny charge but no bond for the kidnapping.
Prior to his arrest on Wednesday, he was out on bond for a previous charge in Greenville.
Mistretta’s next court appearance will be within 30 days.