A neon sign glows atop the historic Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on April 24, 2003.
Photo: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Photo: AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Bystanders thwart alleged snatching of toddler from mother’s arms, police say

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a woman visiting from Missouri with her 3-year-old son was in the city’s historic Ferry Building, which houses a farmers market and other businesses and tourist destinations, when they were approached by another woman. Witnesses told police that the women exchanged words briefly before the stranger, described as homeless, grabbed the boy. 

“It was just strange,” witness Steve Bourne told the Chronicle. “The homeless woman just came up and grabbed the baby.”

Two employees from the nearby Golden Gate Meat Company heard the commotion and stepped in, subduing the woman while other shop owners called police. They held her at the scene until officers arrived.   

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Bay-area reporters captured images from the scene, including photos of the alleged suspect being taken away in handcuffs.

Another witness, Kathryn Bregar, told CBS San Francisco that she saw the employees’ intervention in the alleged attempted abduction. 

“I heard some commotion around the corner, a woman yelling, ‘That’s my baby! That’s my baby!’” Bregar told the news station. “They kind of laid on top and said, ‘She’s under citizen’s arrest.’ And the woman tried to get up and get out, so another man from Golden Gate secured her until the police showed up.”

The mother and son, who police have not identified, were shaken up, but uninjured. 

The woman who is accused of trying to take the boy was placed into custody, though her name has not been made public. Investigators are trying to determine her mental state and what charges should apply in the case. 

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