Police: Homeless Man Charged After Grabbing 5-year-old at a Rockville Park

The man was drunk when he began asking the child to play on the swings, police said.

A homeless man has been charged with attempted kidnapping after an incident with a 5-year-old child at a Rockville playground, police said.

John Harker, who police said is homeless but lives in Vernon, was taken into custody at 4:04 p.m. on Wednesday on an active warrant, police said.

In addition to the second-degree criminal attempt to kidnap charge, police said the 49-year-old Harker has been charged with second-degree breach of peace, second-degree threatening and two counts of risk of injury to a child, police said.

He was to appear in court on Thursday afternoon, a court clerk said.

His bond was set at $30,000, police said.

The incident took place on Monday at Talcott Park off Elm Street in Rockville, up the hill from the Downtown area, police said.

Just after school was let out, the 5-year-old was playing with a 15-year-old near a swing set at the park, police said. The 15-year-old's mom watches the 5-year-old regularly for a family friend and the 15-year-old takes the child to the park after school, police said.

A drunken Harker approached the two and asked the child to play on the swings with him, police said. The 15-year-old said no, but Harker persisted and eventually grabbed the child by the arm, police said.

A struggle ensued between Harker and the 15-year-old, who was trying to pull the child away, police said.

Several regulars at the park who know Harker yelled at him to let go, and he eventually did, police said. When the 15-year-old fled the scene with the 5-year-old, Harker chased them briefly but stopped at the edge of the park, police said.

Harker has an extensive criminal history in Connecticut and New Jersey, police said.


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