Girl's kidnapping halted by bowlers

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

WINDHAM, N.H. -- A group of bowlers who stopped a man from leaving a bowling alley with an 8-year-old girl helped thwart a kidnapping, authorities said.

Gerard Bean, 55, was arraigned on a charge of attempted child abduction Tuesday, two days after he allegedly walked out of the bowling alley with the girl.

"There was no doubt in my mind that he planned to take that girl," said officer Ed Fedele.

A judge set Bean's bail at $250,000 after prosecutor Catherine Baumann said Bean had been convicted of kidnapping and served time in prison from 1979 to 1988. No plea was entered.

Bean was arrested Sunday night after being confronted by several bowlers who saw the girl follow him out of Park Place Bowling Lanes, authorities said.

The men said Bean told them that he hadn't realized the girl was following him. But the girl, who had accompanied her father to the bowling alley, said Bean claimed to be her uncle and told her to come with him, the witnesses said.

After the bowlers questioned him for a few minutes, Bean began walking toward the front door, said bowler Scott Bradish.

"He gave us the thumbs-up and said, 'You guys are good for doing this because there are some real sickos out there,'" Bradish said.

But word had apparently spread, and Bean was surrounded by nearly 100 bowlers who stopped him and called police.

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