California

Angry panhandlers try to snatch baby from mom at Walmart, California cops say

A man and woman who tried to snatch a 1-year-old child Monday from a Walmart parking lot in Bakersfield, California, initially approached the mom asking for cigarettes and a ride, police say.
A man and woman who tried to snatch a 1-year-old child Monday from a Walmart parking lot in Bakersfield, California, initially approached the mom asking for cigarettes and a ride, police say. The Associated Press

Two people accused of trying to snatch a 1-year-old Monday from a Walmart parking lot in California had become “upset” when the mom refused their panhandling, KGET reported.

“The suspects had initially asked her for a number of things, cigarettes and for a ride,” said Sgt. Nathan McCauley of the Bakersfield Police Department, KERO reported.

“When the victim refused, one suspect got angry and he struck the victim and mentioned taking the child away from her and he reached out and tried to grab for the child,” McCauley said, according to the station.

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The 21-year-old mom fought off the pair, a man and a woman, and escaped in her vehicle, McClatchy previously reported.

Bakersfield police arrested Autumn Padilla, 21, and Manuel Sepeda, 28, a short time later on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, according to the publication.

The incident took place at 2:45 p.m. at a Walmart at 6225 Colony St. in south Bakersfield, The Bakersfield Californian reported.

The mom suffered minor injuries and the child was not harmed, KGET reported. Police say attempted child abductions involving strangers are rare.

“Since the beginning of 2018, about 18 months, there have been about eight reports of an attempt of kidnapping and most don’t involve strangers,” McCauley said, KERO reported. “Usually, there are other factors such as domestic violence.”

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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