Police Thursday released surveillance footage in hopes that someone will recognize a woman who they say tried to snatch a 1-year-old boy from his sister’s arms outside a restaurant, and moments later attempted to abduct a 5-year-old at an apartment complex in South Los Angeles.
About 6 p.m. Sunday, the baby boy was with his older sister outside an eatery in the 100 block of West Manchester Avenue, near Main Street in the Florence area of South Los Angeles, when the unidentified suspect approached them, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
They were headed to their car when the woman tried to grab the child, according to police. The siblings kept moving toward the vehicle, but the woman tried to snag the child a second time, right out of his sister’s arms, police said.
In surveillance video released Thursday, the sister is seen holding the child near a black vehicle in the parking lot, when the suspect, wearing a white shirt and long shorts, approaches. The sister walks away quickly with the child still in her arms, and the suspect follows and appears to grab her shoulder, causing her to briefly turn around before continuing to walk away.
The sister then called for help and ran back into the restaurant, police said. Video shows a man in the parking lot approaching the suspect and appearing to be telling her to leave.
The suspect then headed nine blocks north, to the 8000 block of South Main Street, where several children were playing in the courtyard of a gated apartment complex, according to Detective Liliana Preciado of the LAPD’s 77th Street station.
The suspect grabbed a 5-year-old boy and tried to make a getaway, but his family saw what was going on and managed to stop her before she escaped with him, police said.
The suspect is believed to be Hispanic, between 20 and 35 years old, 5-foot-6 and weighing about 135 pounds, with short cropped brown hair.
Anyone with information about her identity or whereabouts is asked to call Preciado at 323-786-5412 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
Residents in the Florence area are urged to be alert about their surroundings, stay in well-lit areas, and move to well-populated areas if being followed.