Worshipers arrest man trying to pick up SUV with children inside, JSO says
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Worshipers arrested a man who attempted to pick up a vehicle with three children inside on Sunday, according to an arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Rigoberto Soto Jr., 19, of Jacksonville was jailed in Duval County Jail Sunday night on one count of vehicle theft, three counts of kidnapping and one count of resistance to police, jail records show .
According to Soto’s arrest report, a woman was sitting in an SUV with three children in the backseat Sunday afternoon at Destination Church on Arlington Road North. The report said a man with her was talking to people in the parking lot, standing in front of the SUV, which was running with the air conditioning on, when Soto jumped over to the driver’s side and told everyone to get off. The woman jumped out of the car. A witness opened a back door and one of the children jumped out. The report shows the man got into the vehicle and grabbed Soto as the car started to move. The man managed to park the vehicle. Several other worshipers then came to his aid, and they pushed Soto to the ground to hold him for the police, according to the report.
“I was actually talking to my dad at the front door when it all happened,” recalls Daniel Opalchuk, who is a bailiff for Living Stream Church, which runs a service at Destination Church. “We could hear the tires squealing in the parking lot. “
A photo shows the suspect held by three people, including Opalchuk.
Soto had been seen in the parking lot, looking into the cars, according to the report.
“The two guys already there were pulling him out, and I came over, helped him and put him on the ground,” Opalchuk said. “I don’t think I did anything that someone else didn’t. I think anyone in my place would have done the same. It was unbelievable. Who knows what could have happened to these children.
A frightening situation begins at the end of a church service. A man steals a car with a woman and three children inside. Witnesses pin the suspect to the ground. I speak with the father of the children and one of the witnesses who detained the man now charged with kidnapping and car theft. @ wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/xksH8jAvHy
– Zachery Lashway (@ZachLashway) June 3, 2021
The father of the children, who did not want to be identified, sent News4Jax this text: “I put my children in a car, the guy jumps in the driver’s seat. I jumped out the back passenger door, we got into a fight. I was trying to park the car as it drove off. As soon as I could I parked the car, the bailiffs came and opened the driver’s side door and started pulling him.
Police say there is no connection between the suspect and his family.
Police also noted in the report that in attempting to search Soto and place him in a patrol car, he actively resisted. According to the report, Soto said he had to travel to Miami.
As of Thursday afternoon, Soto remained in jail on $ 312,500 bail, according to jail records.
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