David Letterman and his girlfriend thanked police for protecting their 16-month-old son from their Montana ranch, saying they were “forever grateful.”
The man charged with creating the plot, Kelly A. Frank, worked as a painter on Letterman’s ranch. The 43-year-old Frank, according to police, had planned to kidnap the boy and his nanny for $5 million ransom.
“We will be forever grateful for their tireless efforts and determination to vigorously pursue this situation,” the couple said in the statement.
The host of CBS’s “Late Show” taped three programs at the beginning of the week before NCAA basketball took over Thursday and Friday.
Mike Ferriter of the state Department of Corrections said the suspect worked as a painter at Letterman’s in Montana and apparently told a friend about the plot earlier this month.
According to the affidavit filed by Teton County Attorney Joe Coble, Frank had told the friend that he knew Letterman and his family would be visiting their Montana home soon and that he intended to kidnap the nanny “so that she could take care of the child.”
The friend notified police this week. Sheriff George Anderson told the weekly Choteau Acantha newspaper that Frank was arrested the following morning.
Frank has also been charged for theft because he overcharged Letterman for the paint work.
Frank is jailed in neighboring Pondera County on $600,000 bail. He conducted his first court date Thursday without a lawyer.
His father, Robert Frank, told the New York Daily News he hoped it was all a mistake.
“I didn’t see this coming,” the newspaper quoted Frank, 75, as saying. “I just can’t imagine him even thinking like that. I don’t think he’d ever seen Letterman in his life.”