WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A parolee charged with kidnapping in connection with a Westminster Amber Alert told the victim he was a member of the band Bowling for Soup and offered to pay for 30 days in a hotel for the girl who had been living out of a car.
The Westminster Police Department said the 13-year-old girl and her older brother, who is an adult, accepted a ride from Bradford Eblen on the morning of Nov. 29, 2022. The girl and her brother were from Florida, the arrest affidavit says.
Eblen was charged with:
- Sex assault on a child
- Aggravated motor vehicle theft - with 2 priors
According to the arrest document, the girl had been living with her mother in Florida but was placed in her father's custody after her mother was arrested. Her older brother told police that his sister had previously alleged abuse by her father and wanted to get them out of the environment in Florida.
He called a friend in Colorado, and that friend picked them up in early November. Since then, they had been living in a vehicle at a truck stop in Commerce City, the affidavit says.
On Nov. 29, the girl and her brother met Eblen, who took them to a mall to buy them clothes, but it wasn't open yet. Eblen told them at one point he needed to go "meet a famous drummer" at a hotel, the affidavit says. He claimed the person was the drummer for Blink-182.
They eventually drove to a location on Melody Drive where the victim's brother went into a business to use the restroom. When he came back out, Eblen and his sister were gone.
He called police and was taken to the station to be interviewed. He told police that he believed his friend had a phone number for the man who took his sister.
He also told police that Eblen said he was in a band and was at the truck stop waiting for his tour bus and offered to buy both of them clothes.
As part of their investigation, officers contacted the brother's friend, who identified the suspect as Eblen. The friend said Eblen was on parole and was driving a car he had borrowed from a clerk at the truck stop, the affidavit says.
Investigators contacted the clerk and learned that she had reported her car stolen. She told police that an "unknown man" came into the truck stop that morning claiming to have been a drummer for Blink-182 and Bowling for Soup, the affidavit says. She reported that he asked to borrow her car to pick someone up and she allowed him to borrow it. When he failed to return, she reported it stolen.
At one point, he called the clerk claiming he didn't steal the car and would bring it back, the affidavit says. She reported that she didn't get the man's name but had taken a photo of him. Using the photo and phone number, investigators were able to identify Eblen.
The affidavit notes that several online posts include Eblen's picture and his name and indicate that he's suspected of "several scams."
Around 8 p.m. Nov. 29, an Amber Alert was issued.
Investigators pinged Eblen's phone and learned his last location was in Loveland, and a detective began conducting surveillance in the area. Within "seconds" of the Amber Alert being issued, a detective saw a couple leave an apartment and look around the parking lot. They went back inside and came out again and got into a vehicle and left.
The detective described their behavior as "haphazard," and a traffic stop was initiated.
The couple told police they were on their way to the police department related to the Amber Alert. They said they met Eblen at a Loveland 7-Eleven about 2:30 p.m. and said he introduced himself as Gary Wiseman, a drummer for Bowling for Soup. They exchanged phone numbers, and he called and later came over to their apartment, the affidavit says.
The woman told police they spent several hours with Eblen and the girl, and that as time went on, she became uneasy about the relationship between the two. She felt some of his behavior was "concerning," the affidavit says.
Around 9:30 p.m., police found the victim in the clerk's car in Loveland, but Eblen was not with her. Around 10:30 p.m., an employee of the Rosebud Motel reported that Eblen was at the motel, and he was initially taken into custody there for a parole violation, the affidavit says.
Eblen has three prior convictions for motor vehicle theft, according to the affidavit. He's next due in court Jan. 10 for a preliminary hearing.
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