A holiday tradition for a Maryland family turned into a nightmare Tuesday when a man was arrested for trying to get a picture of the Executive Office building during the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting.
On Sunday, David Hill, his wife, three sisters and their husbands rented a limousine and drove from their home in La Plata to D.C. to take in the sights and watch the tree lighting ceremony.
Hill's night took a turn for the worse when he decided to break away from the group and take a picture of the Executive Office building next to the White House. The picture was to be a Christmas present for his 85-year-old father who worked there for 40 years.
"I wanted to get a better shot and there was a temporary bicycle fence that had an opening," Hill said.
He moved the fence and walked past to take some pictures. That's when two secret servicemen approached him.
"They wanted to see the pictures on my camera and I showed them," he said. "They wanted to know what made me so special to be in this restricted area. I apologized and said I did not know it was a restricted area."
Hill's wife, Colleen, walked up later to find her husband in handcuffs and being searched by police.
They put him in a cruiser and took him to jail where he stayed for 24 hours in a holding cell with no mattress or pillow on the bed.
"He's never been arrested," Colleen Hill said. "He's never had a traffic ticket. It would have been so easy to say please don't do that again, sir."
Just before Hill was scheduled to be brought before a judge, the misdemeanor trespassing charges against him were dismissed and he was released.
"I am not a criminal," Hill said.