Joplin man arrested at Prairie State Park for burglary


Around 11:53 a.m on August 7th, the Barton County 911 Center received a call from the Prairie State Park manager in regards to a man who claimed he was searching for his wife. The man said he left her at a campsite around 4 a.m. and then returned at 8 a.m. to find she was gone.

The Prairie State Park employee stated that the subject acted strange and he did not want to have any interaction with law enforcement. The male subject then took off in his vehicle. 

After receiving the information, Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene. They started searching around the campsite and searched a few of the trails trying to find either one of the two subjects.

When attempts to locate the two had failed, the Barton County sheriff became concerned for the well-being of the two. So, emergency personnel were called in to assist in the search. 

The following emergency personnel were asked to respond to assist, members of the Lamar Fire Department, Barton County Ambulance, members of the Barton County Rescue and Recovery Team, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, officers of the Lamar Police Department, and a tracking K-9 from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.

At approximately 3:50 p.m., the sheriff received information from Liberal police that a female had been picked up earlier in the day and taken to Casey’s in Liberal. The sheriff was told that the female was found inside a hay barn some distance away from Prairie State Park.

A Lamar officer was able to find the female subject at the business and bring her back to the Prairie State Park Visitation Center to be questioned on her accounts of what occurred.

At the conclusion of the investigation, she was found to be one of the missing subjects from the campsite. There are no criminal charges being sought on the female subject.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., the Prairie State Park manager entered the visitation center to get something from her office and located a male subject hiding under a desk.

The park manager acted as if she did not see the subject, exited her office, and locked the subject inside the building. She then notified the officers searching the area that the subject was located in the building.

The sheriff, deputies, and Lamar officers responded to the scene, entered the building, and went to the room she reported the subject was in. The male subject was located naked and hiding under a desk. The male subject was taken into custody without incident.

The man was identified as Peter F. Gilbreth, 49, of Joplin. He was arrested for the criminal charge of burglary.

Gilbreth was transported to the Barton County Memorial Hospital for medical treatment due to impairment prior to being taken to the jail. He later was transported to the jail where he was processed in and placed on a 24 hour hold for investigation.

The investigation is being conducted by Missouri State Park Rangers.

(Report courtesy of the Barton County Sheriff’s Office).

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