LANTANA, Fla — A Palm Beach Shores firefighter has been arrested and is facing child sex crime charges.
Police arrested Edward Leggett Jr., 40, of Boynton Beach, on Tuesday, charging him with two counts of lewd battery of a victim 12 to 16 years of age and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a child.
Lantana police said Leggett had sex with a 13-year-old girl and gave her drugs. At the time, Leggett was an emergency medical technician with the Palm Beach Shores Fire Department and the co-owner of a barbershop in Lantana.
According to the arrest affidavit, the incident happened Aug. 1. The child was a runaway from a rehabilitation facility.
The arrest affidavit said the child approached a Lantana police officer and told her she met a man on the street, who brought her to a barbershop he co-owned. She said that's where she agreed to have sex with him in exchange for pills. The girl gave the pills to the police officer, who later identified them as methamphetamine.
The report also said during the investigation, police surveillance found the child's description of the car exactly matched the one Leggett was driving. Surveillance footage capturing Leggett and the car also matched the child's statements. After obtaining a warrant for Leggett's DNA, investigators found it matched DNA found on the child, leading to his arrest.
Palm Beach Shores fire Chief Trevor Steedman told WPTV that Leggett was immediately placed on administrative leave once charges were filed and is no longer an active member of the department.
WPTV tried to contact Leggett multiple times, including by phone and going to his home. Leggett has yet to return WPTV's phone calls or answer the door. WPTV also went to the barbershop that the affidavit said he co-owned at the time of the incident and was told he no longer worked there.
Several parents told WPTV Leggett cut their children's hair but did not want to be named or interviewed.
Many of Leggett's neighbor's told WPTV they were shocked to hear about his arrest.
"That's crazy. That's crazy," Vincent Wheeler kept repeating. "It's just crazy."
Wheeler lives a few doors down from Leggett and said he was shocked when he heard about the news of his arrest.
"It's just hard to believe that it happened," Wheeler said. "I never really had any reason to be concerned in this neighborhood. I don't know what made him do that. I don't see that personality [in him], but that's crazy."
Wheeler said he was especially shocked knowing Leggett was working for a fire department.
"Being a fireman, he should know better," Wheeler said. "A 13-year-old, that's unbelievable."
Wheeler said having children and grandchildren made hearing the news hit even closer to home.
"If that were my grandkid, I don't think the police would have had anything to do with it," Wheeler said.
Leggett was given a $25,000 bond. The court also ruled he could be around children in his workplace but could not cut their hair. He also is not allowed to have any contact with the child or anyone under 18, except for his children.