Man arrested for trying to take 4-year-old from Palm Beach Gardens playground

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 3:05 PM EDT
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Police arrested a 37-year-old man, they say, attempted to take a 4-year-old child from the play area of a Palm Beach Gardens apartment complex.

The incident happened Sunday at around 7 p.m. on the 22000 block of Portofino Circle at the San Merano at Mirasol apartment complex.

Palm Beach Gardens police said Joseph Gibson, a resident of the complex, was attempting to leave the play area with a 4-year-old child.

Investigators said neighbors quickly intervened and the suspect was detained until police arrived.

"We had the guy trapped into the playground here and then he tried coming out and we cornered him," said John Sheetz, a father of three who helped stop suspect. "Got him where we wanted him and tried explaining that the cops were on their way, he couldn't leave. And then he charged one of our neighbors and our neighbor subdued him."

Sheetz said the family of the 4-year-old was cooking at the gazebo just next to the playground where the child was playing.

"This is a close-knit community, and we all look after each other's kids and stuff," Sheetz said. "So, the fact that it happened in broad daylight is just crazy to me."

The child was unharmed and Gibson is facing a charge of false imprisonment of a child.

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