Gary Susman
March 18, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Authorities in Montana say they stopped an intruder from invading David Letterman’s ranch, only this time, it wasn’t a bear. Rather, police in Teton County say, it was a handyman Letterman had hired to paint his home, a convicted felon who allegedly plotted to kidnap the Late Show host’s toddler and the boy’s nanny, hold them for 48 hours, and ransom them for $5 million. Police learned of the alleged plot on Sunday from an acquaintance who said the handyman had tried to enlist him as an accomplice, and they arrested Kelly Frank, 43, on Monday. On Thursday, he was charged with three counts, including felony solicitation.

According to court papers posted at The Smoking Gun, Frank told Robert Gondeiro of his plan to kidnap 16-month-old Harry Letterman, as well as his nanny (to take care of the child during his captivity). Gondeiro told authorities that Frank said he knew when the Letterman family planned to arrive at the ranch, had photographed the buildings there, knew where the boy’s crib was located, and had a key to the house. Gondeiro told local police, who in turn told the FBI, to whom Frank allegedly confessed to the kidnap plot, as well to overcharging Letterman between $1,000 and $1,500 for work done at the ranch.

It’s not clear when the plot was to be carried out, or where Letterman was on Thursday when charges were filed. He taped his last Late Show of the week on Wednesday in New York, with college basketball pre-empting new shows on Thursday and Friday. A spokesman for Letterman’s company, Worldwide Pants, declined to comment to Reuters or the Associated Press.

Frank, who was on probation for a previous felony intimidation conviction, was charged with felony solicitation, felony theft (for the overcharge), and a misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer (for initially denying to the FBI any knowledge of a conversation with Gondeiro about the plot.) According to AP, he was being held in a Pondera County jail, with bail set at $600,000. If convicted on all counts, he could face more than 20 years in prison.

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