A Pompano Beach man was insistent Sunday night that he wasn’t leaving a suburban Boca Raton movie theater.
So insistent, in fact, that it took a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy to drag 34-year-old Matthew Bartlett from the theater, then pin him to the ground.
Bartlett is charged with assault on a deputy and resisting without violence after his struggle with the deputy turned physical. A judge released Bartlett on his own recognizance Monday.
Employees at the Regal Shadowood 16 at Glades Road and State Road 7 called deputies when the man refused to leave one of the complex’s theaters. A probable-cause affidavit made public Monday did not list a reason why employees wanted him to leave, referring to him only as “an unwanted guest.”
A deputy found him in the front row of a different theater in the complex. When the deputy asked him to leave, Bartlett said he was enjoying the movie.
The deputy, who recognized Bartlett from previous encounters, grabbed the man’s wrist, according to a sheriff’s office report. Bartlett’s criminal history in Palm Beach County dates to 2002, according to court records.
The 34-year-old then got into an “aggressive stance,” the deputy said, and asked if the deputy wanted to fight.
The deputy declined, and instead led Bartlett by the arm from the theater while he pushed back. Once outside, the officer restrained the man on the ground until more deputies arrived.
In January, deputies arrested Bartlett for stealing LED bulbs and a fire starter from a Wal-Mart store in suburban Boca Raton, according to sheriff’s office records. He was found guilty and spent about four months in jail for the crime.
In June he was arrested by Boca Raton police for putting a Publix sub in his pants and leaving the super market without paying, according to police reports. The charges weren’t filed.
Bartlett is slated to appear before a Palm Beach County judge again Sept. 22.