The family of a Waterbury man accused of trying to grab a three-year-old boy away in broad daylight from a Bristol mother said he's had problems for years, but they never thought he would try to snatch a child.
According to police, a white man with missing teeth, khaki shorts, a gray shirt and no shoes approached a young mother that was walking with the 3-year-old and a baby in a stroller on Prospect Street.
The man, who was later identified as 50-year-old John Brasseur, then asked the mother what she was doing with his baby.
The 3-year-old boy sprang into action to defend his little sister and slapped Brasseur.
The interaction ended with Brasseur taking the 3-year-old boy by the arm and tried to get away.
The mother ran and grabbed her son from him and immediately tried to leave the area. But, police said, Brasseur continued to follow her and her children for a short time, before heading off in a different direction.
The mother called police as soon as she got home.
Police canvassed the Prospect street area, asking neighbors for help. People at the Christian Fellowship Church recognized Brasseur from their description.
Brasseur was on transitional supervision from the Waterbury Parole Office, police said.
Transitional supervision means Brasseur was living with a sponsor after leaving jail. The Department of Correction said it will be investigating the incident to decide if the sponsor will face charges as well.
With help from the Waterbury Parole Office, Brasseur was located by Wolcott Police where he was held until being turned over to Bristol police.
"I'm not a child molester," Brasseur told police when interviewed. "I talk to everyone. I love kids, but not in that way."
Brassuer's family told Eyewitness News they had hoped he would turn his life around, but instead he's been nothing but trouble.
According to family members, he had been living with his elderly mother in Bristol, who was very upset when Eyewitness News spoke with her Monday.
Brasseur, who has a long criminal history including convictions for drug and motor vehicle violations, was charged with risk of injury to a minor, unlawful restraint and breach of peace.
As for the family of the boy he's accused of grabbing, the woman's boyfriend told Eyewitness News they're doing OK and are just trying to move past this incident.
Brasseur was held on $25,000 bond and the Waterbury Parole office issued a Remand to Custody.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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