Montana News

Nov 17, 2012 11:45 AM by MTN News

Details emerge about Amber Alert suspect nabbed in Whitefish

WHITEFISH - An Amber Alert issued out of Canada ended peacefully on Friday morning after a Whitefish resident says he put two and two together.

The search for Robert Barnett and his 3-year-old son ended in front of a Whitefish home while the pair slept in their car.

The Pin and Cue bowling alley in Whitefish served as the tipping point in capturing Robert Barnett, who was wanted for an Amber Alert.

"I went to the car with my friends, and they left in theirs, and the individual came right up to my door and window and tapped on it, and I put the window down. There were some other people in the parking lot, so, he was asking if I could spare some money. Cause he was stranded and needed some money and needed to get home," Phillip Bruinsma recalled.

Bruinsma was not aware at the time, that hours earlier, an Amber Alert had been issued for Barnett and his 3-year-old son, after the boy was taken illegally across the U.S. Border.

Bruinsma invited Barnett to park his car and sleep in front of his house, but it wasn't until the next morning, he realized Barnett was a fugitive.

"I started reading it and my heart sunk, cause I was like, ‘oh man....this is it, this is the same, this has to be the same car, the same guy, looks the same color, everything,' heart sunk," Bruinsma said.

He called the 911 dispatch center to report seeing Barnett, when he noticed, Barnett was sleeping in his car right in front of the house.

"Our officers assisted Whitefish in surrounding the car, and he was arrested without incident," Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Leib said.

Leib told us the boy was in good condition and is on his way home to Canada. Bruinsma says he's not a hero, but knows he had to do the right thing.

"You know, if I know there's an Amber Alert, I don't care what it is, I'm going to report that, the safety of that child in my opinion comes first, you know that's job one, right there."

Bruinsma wanted us to share his heartfelt thanks to law enforcement officers in the Flathead for their quick response.


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