*UPDATE* 10/25 3 p.m. – An apparent attempt to abduct a child at a Hannaford in Portland last Friday was instead a non-criminal event caused by a shopping cart mix-up, police said in a release Wednesday.
An investigation by police revealed a shopping cart holding a 2-month-old child in a car seat was mistakenly taken by a man who didn't realize he had the wrong cart until halfway across the store.
Police said the father of the baby was in the produce department at about 1 p.m. when he was momentarily distracted and his cart disappeared. He then immediately notified store employees, who initiated a "Code Adam Alert," locking down the store and preventing anyone from leaving.
The child was found minutes later in the bread aisle, No. 19, unharmed and still restrained in the car seat in the cart.
Police said a review of surveillance video showed the man leave his original cart in the produce department and accidentally take the cart with the baby, eventually leaving the cart and baby in aisle 19.
The man told police he realized his mistake within a minute but had already traveled across the store, and "panicked" when he realized what he had done and regrettably did not notify store employees.
Police said the district attorney's office review determined that while it was a terrifying incident for the child's parents, there was no apparent criminal action. They said the mistake of taking the wrong shopping cart is understandable and it was magnified by a baby being inside.
"We are pleased that we have been able to determine exactly what happened in this instance," said Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck. "It is a very frightening event for all parents and raised safety concerns in our community … as disturbing as this incident was, it was not an attempt to abduct a child."
Police commended the store's employees for their swift and effective response to the incident and contributions to the investigation.
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) –Portland Police are reviewing surveillance video from the Back Cove Hannaford after receiving a report of an attempted kidnapping around 1:15 PM Friday.
They say someone was in the store with a child in the shopping carriage.
At one point that person was shopping with the cart behind them.
When they turned around the cart and the child in it were gone.
Police say the suspect is a while male, approximately 30 years old, wearing a yellow shirt, white hat with orange brim.
The shopper reported what happened to store employees who made an announcement about the incident over the store’s loudspeaker system.
The child and cart were located moments later at another end of the store.
Police believe a suspect pushed the cart and child across the store but aren’t sure if that person fled immediately after the announcement.
Investigators are now reviewing security camera video.
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