Why was a sex offender, who had previously been convicted five times, released in Washington, D.C. despite facing felony kidnapping charges in Bath, Steuben County?
Bath Police Chief Colin Taft is calling it a miscarriage of justice, that a level-three sex offender, with a local warrant for a felony kidnapping charge, was released from the Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections after taking a road trip there with two minors.
For Taft, it’s personal, because he said he checked all the boxes to make sure 62-year old Anthony Kroeger would answer to criminal charges. Taft said Kroeger picked up two 14-year-old boys in Bath in the middle of the school week, without parental consent, and drove them to D.C earlier this month.
“I was the one who was here. Met the judge,” Taft said. “Got the kidnapping warrant signed. Put it in the e-justice, where we put our warrants. I put a nationwide extradition code in there, meaning we’d pick him up anywhere nation wide.”
Taft put out an out-of-state amber alert. Then D.C. authorities located Kroeger and the children, Taft explained, towed Kroeger’s vehicle, and put him in jail for a week.
Police Chief planned on picking Kroeger up
What’s not clear, and what’s frustrating, is why this five-time convicted felon with an arrest warrant was able to walk free.
“We’ve been waiting,” Taft said. “Two of us were going down to pick him up once we got the ok. It usually takes 7-14 days for him to go through proceedings down there so we were just waiting on a phone call to go and get him. So now we have to re-find this guy who obviously doesn’t want to be found so it’s very frustrating.”
Three of Kroeger’s convictions were sex offenses against children. His most recent victim was a 14-year old boy.
Kroeger had several warrants out for his arrest
For the most recent charge, Kroeger was charged with Kidnapping in the Second Degree which is scheduled to go to grand jury for an indictment.
“He has a whole bunch of warrants out for his arrest, not just this kidnapping charge,” Taft added. “I believe it pertains to scheming to defraud people with his business and not registering as a sex offender. I think there were multiple counts pending when he fled with this kid and picked up a kidnapping charge.”
What should have happened?
Under normal circumstances, Taft explained authorities in D.C. would see the warrant in the database, and ask for a fax of the original warrant. Then, they would start proceedings down there to find out if he would fight extradition or waive it.
“They just released him on the 14th. We were waiting for a phone call telling us that he is ready to be picked up; that he’s waived extradition.”
But he says that call never came. The Chief says he found out about Kroeger’s release through a third party.
“I’m very upset but I’m trying to focus my resources on trying to find him now,” Taft said.
Now Taft is asking the public to an eye out and if anyone sees him to call the department at 607-776-2175. Taft believes Kroeger will be back in Bath, saying he has a tropical fish business and an apartment.
We reached out to the D.C. Department of Corrections to ask why Kroeger was released, but have not heard back yet.
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].