Man accused of grabbing child, luring to hotel elevator

A man is behind bars, held on no bond, after deputies say he grabbed a child and tried to pull him or her into an elevator of a hotel.

Armin Romero, 39, was arrested on a charge of kidnapping a child younger than 13.

Deputies say surveillance video shows Romero grabbed a child by the arm in the lobby of the Marriott World Center and tried to pull the boy or girl into an elevator.

Deputies say Romero told them he had a couple of beers at a pool party at the hotel and doesn’t remember the incident with the child.

Detectives took swabs from the child’s arm to use as evidence.

After interviewing the child and a parent, deputies say they gathered enough evidence to arrest Romero.

Romero has been ordered by a judge to stay away from all children younger than 16 years old, including his own children.

Jeff Flaherty, a spokesman of Marriott, sent Fox 35 this statement:

"We can confirm there was an incident last Sunday evening involving a non-registered guest and the child of a registered guest of the hotel. As soon as the situation was brought to the attention of the hotel staff hotel security intervened to assist the child and reunite him with his parents. The Orange County Sherriff’s Office (OCSO) was immediately contacted and responded to the hotel. The OCSO is currently conducting an investigation and we continue to assist them as they look into the matter. As this is an active investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further. The safety and security of our guests remains a top priority at Marriott."

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