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Bystanders Break Up Child Kidnapping Attempt At San Francisco Ferry Building

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A woman was arrested Monday after she attempted to snatch away a young boy from his mother's arms in the crowded San Francisco Ferry Building.

Authorities said the attempted kidnapping took place at 9:36 a.m. -- at the height of the morning rush hour as commuters were streaming through the building from their ferries.

According to police, the woman walked up to the mother who was holding the child and started a conversation. At some point, she grabbed the 3-year-old boy and attempted to flee but was stopped by ferry building employees.

"The child was in the mother's arms and a struggle ensued, "said San Francisco Police Capt. Jack Hart.

Witness Kathryn Bregar watched as two employees from the nearby Golden Gate Meat Company tackled the woman to the ground.

"I heard some commotion around the corner, a woman yelling, 'That's my baby! That's my baby,'" said Bregar. "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 woman was taken into custody by police.

The boy and his mother were shaken up, but otherwise unharmed. They did not want to talk to the media about the ordeal.

The suspect is being interviewed by the SFPD Special Victims Unit.

"To determine what the subject's mental state was and what the intent was and what charges are appropriate in this case," said Hart.

San Francisco police officials are going to talk with the operators of the Ferry Building to work on possibly getting more police presence in the area.


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