Boy Kidnapped After Leaving Margate Fair
Randy Shillingford {BSO}

By Kevin Deutsch

A man with a violent criminal history kidnapped a 12-year-old boy who had just left the Fair at Margate Saturday night, forcibly kissing the boy before the child escaped, court records show.

Randy Shillingford, 29, of Dania Beach allegedly grabbed the child near 1100 North State Road 7, shortly after the victim and his 13-year-old brother exited the fairgrounds at Margate Boulevard, according to an arrest affidavit filed by Margate Police.

Shillingford, whose previous alleged crimes include threatening to harm the children of police, kidnapped the 12-year-old just after the boy’s older brother ran into a nearby CVS to use the bathroom, records show.

According to police, Shillingford placed the victim in a headlock and grabbed him around his waist. Unable to escape, the boy was forcibly moved around 200 yards in the direction of the CVS, the affidavit states. As Shillingford moved the boy, he tried to take the child’s bracelets off his arm, police said.

Shillingford then forced the victim to a shopping center at 5230 Coconut Creek Parkway, where he grabbed the victim by his hair using both hands and forced the victim to kiss him on the mouth, the affidavit states.

The boy could break free and run for help, police said.

Margate Police officers, who arrived at the scene while responding to an unrelated call, saw a good Samaritan intervene and stop Shillingford from chasing the boy, according to the affidavit.

Shillingford was arrested shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday and charged with kidnapping, robbery, and child abuse. He was being held without bond Tuesday at the BSO Main Jail.

The kidnapping attack is the latest example of violent crime happening in and around the Margate Fair, which has been plagued by violence since its inception.

Numerous fights and gunfire plagued the fair on a Thursday night in November 2022 and forced police to shut the event down early. The Spring Break version of the fair, held from March to April 2022, was also shut down by police during one night of operation due to “chaos, disturbances, fights, and in the interest of public and officer safety” after a series of violent clashes between fairgoers, police records show.

At the November 2021 fair, a 91-year-old woman, Meredeth Bartels, was wounded when a stray bullet fired from the fairgrounds struck her, according to court records.

Brandon Craig, 40, a carnival worker at the fair, allegedly fired two shots during a dispute with another carnival worker, wounding Bartels with a bullet in the process, police said. He was later charged with second-degree murder.

Court records show Craig pleaded no contest earlier this month to charges of battery and aggravated battery as part of an apparent plea deal in the case. He was given five years’ probation and released after serving 364 days in jail, records show.

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Author Profile

Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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