It’s not uncommon for Child Protective Services workers to ask police for help removing a child from a home, according to a Las Vegas police spokeswoman.
But during an incident on Monday, a self-proclaimed social worker who called police for backup was a fraud — and officers realized it in time, police said.
At a press conference Wednesday, police announced the arrest of 39-year-old Joanna Boyd on Monday after she asked officers to help her do an “emergency pickup” of a 3-week-old foster child, 8 News reports. Boyd offered up paperwork like a court order as proof, but officers realized it was fake and that Boyd didn’t have a Child Protective Services worker identification, police said.
“Because of the solid police work these officers did, they prevented her from actually being able to take this child — and being unwitting tools in her plan to commit this crime,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nichole Splinter said at the press conference, which the Las Vegas Sun posted on YouTube.
Police said that before Boyd attempted to kidnap the child, the parents had been speaking to her about purchasing baby clothes over Facebook — but beyond that, they had not met her, Splinter said at the press conference.
To make the fake paperwork appear accurate, police said that Boyd mined the parents’ Facebook page for details about the family and the child, KSNV reports.
Officers “contacted CPS to verify she did not work for them. They had no idea who she was,” Splinter said.
The police spokeswoman warned parents to be careful about what they post on social media about their children, including birth dates.
Las Vegas police said Boyd has a felony record from California and is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of attempted kidnapping, impersonating a public officer and forgery, KSNV reports.
Clark County officials said in a statement that parents should verify that Child Protective Services workers are who they say they are, according to KTNV.
“We urge all parents to ask questions if they have any doubt as to whether or not they are speaking to a family services employee,” the county’s statement said, KTNV reports. “Parents should always ask for proper identification before ever trusting a stranger with their children. Our employees are issued an identification card when they are hired and they are instructed to keep their card on them during work hours.”
Police said that Boyd told officers she planned to raise the child after her kidnapping, because her own kids were no longer in her custody, 8 News reports.
Boyd will appear in court on Thursday, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
She’s being held without bond, online jail records said.