BOZEMAN – A Bozeman man arrested four times since January appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court Thursday on a felony charge of failing to register as a violent offender.

According to court documents, 70-year-old Joe Sylvester Ryals is required to register as a violent offender in Montana due to two 1996 convictions in Florida. Given his status as a transient living within Bozeman city limits, Ryals is further required to register every 30 days.

Court documents also state that Ryals was arrested in April 2017 for threatening a group of juveniles with what was discovered to be a replica handgun and has been arrested four times since Jan. 18, most recently on Feb. 16.

In the April arrest, two boys reported to police officers that they were exploring a tunnel that goes under East Main Street at Lindley Park when they were confronted by Ryals holding a handgun in a holster. The man yelled at the boys to get out of the tunnel and pointed the gun at one of the boys. When questioned by officers, Ryals admitted to having a handgun in his possession, a black BB gun in a black nylon holster.

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During the most recent arrests, Ryals allegedly made comments indicating he is going to force officers to kill him within the next month.

Ryals reportedly had not registered as a violent offender since Jan. 3 and was located and cited at the Gallatin County Detention Center.

Judge Rick West set his bail at $25,000, citing a threat to public safety given Ryals’s recent arrests and alleged comments.

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