Diego James Gettler, 28, was charged with second-degree kidnapping on Thursday after he allegedly grabbed the girl outside the STEM Launch K-8 school in Thornton just before the first bell sounded around 7:30 a.m. on September 23, according to Thornton Police Department.
The young girl told police she had just been taken to school by her mother that morning and was sitting on the school steps when Gettler approached her and asked if she attended school, according to the affidavit obtained by People.
Gettler allegedly walked after her and then up the steps where she was sitting before turning around, the girl told police.
“The man made her uncomfortable, so she stood up as he went down the stairs,” the affidavit reads. “The male grabbed [her] At that point, in a way she described as he wrapped his hands and arms around her waist from behind.”
As the girl screamed, Gettler covered her mouth with his hands, according to the arrest document.
She fought back and pulled off Gettler’s face mask, which investigators say “startled” him and caused him to flee.
Surveillance footage obtained by police allegedly showed Gettler parked a damaged Saturn gray aura near the school before attempting to kidnap the girl. Footage later shows him running back to his car and climbing through the passenger door before driving off.
Later that same day, police released images from the footage allegedly showing Gettler and his car.
On September 26, Gettler’s parents went to Thornton Police Station and told detectives they believed the suspect to be their son, “based on surveillance photos that were released, as well as his vehicle, which has the unique characteristics of the suspect vehicle in it.” consistent with this case,” the affidavit said.
“[His parents] said Diego owns and operates a gray Saturn Aura that has driver-side damage “caused by a previous car accident,” the affidavit said. “[His parents] further confirmed that Diego must enter the vehicle from the passenger side.”
Investigators determined that Gettler’s cell phone was also nearby at the time of the attempted kidnapping.
He was arrested September 26 outside a Home Depot in Parker and sent to the Adams County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on October 5, People reported.