On August 12, 2022, while on patrol duty at the Western Montana County Fair, Missoula Police Department officers were flagged by a complainant. The complainant advised there was a male sitting at a picnic table behind their booth being disorderly, yelling profanity, and making customers uncomfortable. 

Officers contacted the male who was later identified as 48-year-old Robert Price. Price would not give his name, threw some papers on the ground, and started to walk away from the officers. They began to follow Price as he walked west along the grandstand to make sure he left the property.  

On the west end of the grandstand, where the grass ends, there are wooden painted picture boards that are set up with cut-out circles for heads so kids can take photos. A young child was behind one of the boards with his head through a hole getting his picture taken by his parents. When Price walked up behind the child, Price grabbed him and began to run.  

The child’s father was immediately there to intercept Price and challenged Price by yelling at him. Price immediately threw the child towards his dad and took off running southwest through the fairgrounds. Officers put out the description on the radio. A Missoula County Sheriff’s Office deputy grabbed Price and took him into custody.  

An officer spoke to the victim’s father who stated that when Price took his child and started to run, the father got in the way and yelled at him. Price put the child down quickly and took off running. The victim’s mother stated that she had looked away and when she turned back toward her child, she saw Price grab him and try to run with him. The original complainant also told officers they saw Price grab the child and try to run. According to court documents, the child victim is 3 years old. 

On Monday, Price made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court. Deputy County Attorney Marthe Van Sickle provided the following statement. 

“Your honor, the state is requesting $100,000 bail in this case,” Van Sickle said. “The defendant is a danger to the community. As the court knows, his PSA score is a level three active and he has numerous offenses over the past year and a criminal history that shows he cannot abide by conditions and is a danger to others. If released, we request pretrial supervision, drug monitoring, GPS, no contact with the victims, and any other standard conditions the court sees fit. Of note, he did plead to an assault in May in Justice Court and he has a pending assault in Justice Court as well.”  

Justice of the Peace Alex Beal set Price's bond in the amount of $100,000 and explained his reasoning why. 

“I note that you have a prior conviction from a couple of months ago in this court and it looks like in Municipal court, just in the last week or so, you have picked up a number of other tickets,” Beal said. “It does seem that whatever your mental health issues are, they are not able to be met in the community, and in the absence of proper treatment, you are a danger to others. I do find that bond is appropriate. You're welcome to ask for reconsideration of that at your next hearing. If you are able to post that bond, you will be released to the folks at pretrial supervision.” 

On August 10, 2022, the Missoula Police Department arrested Price on charges of assault with a weapon, animal cruelty, and additional charges. However, Price was released on his own recognizance. 

Price is currently being charged with felony attempted kidnapping and felony assault on a minor. His next scheduled court appearance is August 29, 2022, in Missoula District Court. 

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.

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