Gaston County man arrested for kidnapping claims he is innocent

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Theodore Lipscomb is a free man. He was arrested Thanksgiving and charged with kidnapping an 18-month-old boy and stealing a car.

He says he is innocent and has this message for the mother who called 911 and had him arrested.

"I have no hard feelings against her," Lipscomb said. "I still have love and consideration for her. I ask just speak the truth and let it be known that I would never hurt your child or take your vehicle for that matter. We'd been together that whole day."

Lipscomb claims the two along with the mother's boyfriend ran errands the day before Thanksgiving using the mother's vehicle.  The 18-month-old boy was also in the car.  Lipscomb says it was 11 p.m. when they made their last stop.  He says they stopped at a home and the mother and her boyfriend went inside and stayed for more than an hour.

Lipscomb says he waited outside in the car with the 18-month-old in the back seat asleep. He says it was getting late and he had to leave to go to South Carolina pick up his children.

"I begged her," Lipscomb said. "Either come out and let's go or I am going to have to go and come back cause I have to get my kids."

Lipscomb says the next thing he knows he was a wanted man and police showed up at his mother's house to arrest him.

"I was baffled and didn't know it had turned into a situation so dramatic." Lipscomb said.

Gaston County Police is working this case. They say when a child is missing that child is in imminent danger. The police contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and it issued the Amber Alert. Gaston County Sheriff says when children are missing the procedure is to find them first – the rest can come later.

"The most important thing is to find that child, and ensure that child is safe," Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger said. "The justice system will come back and handle as to if someone is falsely accused, the justice system will handle that."

The group True Healing Under God (THUG) is backing Lipscomb. The group believes police rushed to issue an Amber Alert.

"We feel as though they didn't do a proper investigation on this case before they arrested him." THUG Founder John Barnett said.

Police believe they did the right thing involving this case.

Lipscomb made his first appearance in court Thursday. He was appointed a public defender.

"I ask that Gaston County drop these charges, so we can definitely move on," Barnett said.

THUG released text messages allegedly sent by the mother while police were looking for her child. The mother writes Theodore wouldn't hurt my child or put him in danger. Lipscomb believes these text message prove an Amber Alert wasn't needed and the child was never in any danger and would have been returned.

"I just want this all to be over with," Lipscomb said. "I am kind of confused. I didn't think this was big of a deal, drawn out."

Lipscomb's next court date is scheduled for December 19.

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