The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Sunday ordered a Danish tourist detained for three days after he was arrested for allegedly trying to snatch a girl in Jaffa, even though the judge conceded the case was “bizarre” and was an assault, if anything, rather than a kidnapping attempt.
Police arrested Jacob Alers after the nine-year-old girl’s parents complained that he tried to kidnap her from a playground while dressed in a clown costume.
Alers, a musician by profession, said that last Friday he was walking from the beach when he met a group of children who asked him to drum and then passed the drum among them.
He said that one of the girls tried to run off with the drum and he ran after her and took it from her. At that point family members jumped on him and started hitting him because they thought he meant to harm the girl. The next day, when he met several of the children near a local grocery store, police were summoned and arrested him.
“Reviewing the witnesses’ versions of events points to a strange incident by any measure,” said Judge Ala Masarwa. But he added that given the findings, including the fact that the girl was injured, there is a reasonable suspicion that an offense was committed, and he thus extended his detention.
The suspect’s lawyer, Adi Carmeli, said, “This is a wild exaggeration by the police. My client was attacked and bruised by the parents of minors trying to steal from him. The court accepted the defense’s arguments and stated that this was not a kidnapping.”
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