OTTAWA — A Peru man caught on tape arguing with two senior citizens — appearing to shove both — was picked up Wednesday afternoon on a La Salle County arrest warrant.

Michael E. Stuart, 43, of 808 Sixth St. was picked up at 2 p.m. on an original warrant charging him with two counts of aggravated battery to a senior citizen and one count of aggravated battery on a public way, all Class 3 felonies with a base range of 2-5 years in prison.

NE Stuart mug clr.jpg

Michael Stuart

The warrant signed earlier by Judge Michael C. Jansz fixed bond in the amount of $30,000.

Stuart posted bond and was released from custody. He is scheduled to appear June 21 before Judge Cynthia Raccuglia for appearance with counsel and possible arraignment.

Peru police chief Doug Bernabei said police are seeking additional information about the taped altercation. Anyone with information is asked to call Peru police at (815) 223-2151 and ask for Sgt. Ed DeGroot or officer Ben Bentley or, if neither is available, any on-duty police officer or detective.

Stuart’s arrest came on the heels of the release of a short video (one version runs 1 minute, 49 seconds) depicting a man arguing with two seniors he appeared to push.

As the video went viral, Bernabei issued a press release saying Peru police were made aware of a disturbance Sunday and launched an investigation.

“The parties involved in an ongoing neighborhood dispute reported different accounts and made opposing allegations against each other,” the release stated. “No independent witnesses were located on Sunday.”

Within minutes of the report, Peru police consulted with the La Salle County States Attorney’s Office, which confirmed no arrest should be made at that time and further investigation was warranted. “The PPD fully agreed with this determination,” he said.

Monday, police became aware of potential video of the incident, though it was not until 5:19 a.m. Wednesday that police were provided a link to the video by a third party.

Stuart was also issued a city ordinance citation for failure to secure a permit for earth change alleging he was dumping fill in his ravine without first securing a permit from the city of Peru building and zoning department.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or Follow him on Twitter @NT_Court.


Tom Collins is the NewsTribune Senior Reporter. He can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or
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