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Video: As mom in store turns away, stranger picks up her baby

A man is seen on surveillance from a Houston grocery store, picking up a baby while the child’s mother is turned the other way, on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016.

CBS affiliate KHOU

HOUSTON — A Texas mom says she believes a man she encountered at a grocery store on Saturday may have been trying to take her baby, reports CBS affiliate KHOU.

Florence Monauer recounted the bizarre ordeal, which was captured on surveillance video, in an interview with the station. She said she was in the Houston grocery store when a stranger came by, said something to her baby, then walked away. 

Monauer turned to look at an item on the shelf. A moment later, she heard the baby’s shopping cart cover move. She looked up and saw the man pulling her 14-month-old out of the cart.

“At no point did he talk to me. He never asked me to pick up my baby,” Monauer said. “He said the strangest thing....‘I wanted to take you when your mom wasn’t looking.’”

Once the man saw she noticed he was holding the baby, he reportedly handed the child back.

Despite his statement, Monauer said she at first gave the man the benefit of the doubt, but thought about the incident for hours, becoming more and more upset.

“I was conditioned to be nice to people,” said the 33-year-old. “I don’t want to falsely accuse someone in case this guy was just awkward and didn’t understand boundaries.”

The more she thought about what happened, the more she realized how strange the interaction was. 

“He didn’t have a shopping cart, no merchandise,” Monauer said. “The more I thought about it, the more creeped out I felt.”

Later that night, Monauer, an attorney, called the police and filed a report.

“For me, the crime of attempting to kidnap someone was completed the moment when he picked up my child with my back turned and without my consent,” she said.

Houston police have requested a copy of the surveillance video from the store, where employees say they don’t recognize the man who picked up the baby.