Man Suspected in Attempted Abduction of Girl in Bemidji Formally Charged
A 21-year-old Bemidji man suspected in an attempted abduction of a girl in Bemidji last week has been formally charged in Beltrami County Court.
Michael Wayne Petersen is charged with one count of Felony False Imprisonment – Intentional Restraint. The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
According to information from the criminal complaint in the case as well as a press release from the Bemidji Police Department, two juvenile females were walking down the paved entrance road into Cameron Park on June 26th when they were approached by a man who asked them to talk into the woods to look at a snake. As the girls spoke with him, they became nervous and began to walk away.
The man followed them and at one point wrapped his arm around one of the girls and attempted to pick her up. Both juveniles started to scream, which caused the man to let go and run away from the area to the northwest through various yards.
Authorities obtained a statement from Petersen because they say he has a history of touching individuals inappropriately and because his physical description matched that of the suspect. Petersen admitted to police he saw the two girls and said he tried to give one of the girls a hug. He says he ran away after one of the girls screamed.
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