87° Good Afternoon
87° Good Afternoon

'Crazy' plan to meet gymnast mentioned to cop

MOBILE, Ala. - A man who authorities say tried to break onto the set of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" was ticketed on his way to California and let go, despite telling a police officer in Alabama that his plan to meet contestant Shawn Johnson was "alittle bit crazy."

Robert O'Ryan, 34, was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday, andpolice said a search of his car turned up a shotgun and handgun,both loaded, along with duct tape and love letters. The celebritygymnast's family obtained a restraining order against O'Ryan thenext day, saying she feared for her life.

O'Ryan was on his way to California when a police officerspotted him driving erratically around 1:30 a.m. March 19 onInterstate 10 in Loxley, a small town east of Mobile. During ahalf-hour traffic stop, O'Ryan told the officer that he wastraveling to meet the Olympic gold medalist, according to a videorecorded by the officer's dashboard camera.

"I'm meeting her there. I've been communicating with her. And,uh, basically I'm going to try to get her to marry me," O'Ryansaid, adding that Johnson was on TV.

But when pressed by the officer, who apparently didn't know whoJohnson was, O'Ryan said he'd only spoken to the 17-year-oldJohnson in his dreams.

"I know it sounds a little bit crazy, but my intuition tells mewe're going to have a beautiful relationship together," O'Ryansaid in the video first obtained by Mobile TV station WKRG.

The officer then allowed O'Ryan to continue his trip toCalifornia after ticketing him for having no insurance and drivingwith an expired license plate.

Loxley Police Chief Chip Cason said Thursday the officer, a27-year police veteran, acted properly and didn't see a need tosearch the vehicle. Cason said the officer didn't recognize thecelebrity dancer's name and there was no way for the officer toknow the man's intentions. He said the Los Angeles prosecutor'soffice has asked Cason not to comment further.

Cason said the officer who wrote the ticket wasn't available forcomment Thursday.

O'Ryan was being held Thursday on $220,000 bail on suspicion ofcarrying a loaded firearm in public. His public defender, JudithGreenberg, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

According to the restraining order application in California,O'Ryan was stopped by security at CBS Studios, the lot where"Dancing With the Stars" is staged, after he jumped on a fence onMonday afternoon.

Court records state that he told security guards and police inCalifornia that he packed up all his belongings and traveled fromFlorida in the hopes of being with Johnson.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More Entertainment