A probationer was arrested Monday for allegedly attempting to snatch two children from a Lake Elsinore park until he was stopped by one of the victims' relatives.
Marcus Joseph DeWitt, 29, of Lake Elsinore, was booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of attempted kidnapping.
According to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Steve Fredericks, DeWitt entered Rosetta Canyon Sports Park in the 44400 block of Ardenwood Way about 11:30 a.m.
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Fredericks said the suspect walked over to a 3-year-old boy and grabbed him by the arm as the child romped inside playground equipment. Because of the configuration of the apparatus, DeWitt was unable to pull the boy out, and he gave up and instead scooped up a 4-year-old boy playing nearby.
"The victim's parents and other family members observed the abduction and were able to catch DeWitt and wrestle the child out of his grasp,'' the sergeant said.
He said the 6-feet 4-inch, 275-pound probationer attempted to run away but was pulled down by a male relative of the boy.
Additional witnesses ran to the man's aid and helped hold DeWitt until deputies were summoned, according to Fredericks.
No one was injured, including the children, he said.
Deputies took DeWitt into custody without a struggle.
According to court records, he has prior misdemeanor convictions for lewd and lascivious conduct, obstruction of justice, violating a court restraining order and vandalism.