Man accused of choking boy inside Target bathroom out of jail -

Man accused of choking boy inside Target bathroom out of jail

(KMOV) -- The man accused of trying to choke a 7-year-old boy inside a Target bathroom has been released from jail.

Robert Fricke, 40, has been charged with a misdemeanor.

The incident happened Sunday afternoon at the Target store in Fairview Heights, Ill.

Police say the boy went into the restroom while his mother waited outside.

The boy told police that Fricke grabbed him from behind and put him in a choke hold. The boy says he screamed and kicked to get away. He ran back out to his mom and she ran inside and confronted Fricke. She told police there was one man inside. He looked at her and shouted twice "I didn't do anything." Target employees also ran in to help and asked Fricke to wait for police.

Police say the motive for the attack is unclear, but they believe the attack was random and that the child was not making up a story.

Police do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved and Fricke did not have a criminal record before his arrest.

News 4 spoke with the state's attorney in St. Clair County to ask why Fricke was only charged with a misdemeanor. He says bottom line, the child was not hurt, did not need medical attention, so a felony charge with the potential of prison time as punishment would not fit the crime.

Also in the police report, officers searched the vehicle belonging to Fricke's mother. They were looking for anything to indicate that there was a planned abduction. That did not seem to be the case.

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