PHOENIX, AZ (ABC 15) – West Phoenix apartment residents took action as they chased down and captured a man they saw molest a child, according to police.
On June 17 around 7 p.m., residents of an apartment complex near 40th Avenue and Van Buren Street saw a man inappropriately touching a 6-year-old girl.
Grizelda Salazar says she went to call her kids in from the playground and that’s when one of them told her about 36-year-old Gaspar Bernabe Barraza Arciniega, and she then caught him in the act and confronted him.
“I saw the guy under her clothes so what I did, I just came and grabbed him and slapped him.” said Salazar.
She says when he started to run away, she slapped him again and started calling for help and a group of kids and adults from around the complex went running after him.
“I think I just did what I’m supposed to do,” said Salazar.
Alberto Tapia says he heard the call for help and when he spotted Arciniega he and another man managed to cut him off, tackling him to the ground and pinning him down until police arrived.
“It’s a community, we help each other, that’s what we do in these apartments,” said Tapia.
Police say they found about $100 worth of cocaine in Arciniega’s pocket.
He reportedly admitted to touching the child inappropriately, claiming he was drunk. At the conclusion of the interview, Arciniega cried.
Police say Arciniega is from Mexico, having come to the United States just 15 days ago.
He’s being held on $250,000 bond on charges of narcotic possession and child molestation.