Receptionist recalls stopping child abduction in museum

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- She's a grandmother, a museum receptionist, and now, she's being called a hero. Police said Sharon Wise stopped an attempted child abduction inside the Maine State Museum last Tuesday.

Police said 58-year-old James Cavallaro of Bath grabbed a 2-year-old girl by the hand inside the museum and tried to take her away from her grandmother.

Wise was working the desk and confronted Cavallaro. She said she was prepared for a fight.

"Instinctively as a mother and grandmother, I hovered over her," Wise said. "I kept telling him to let go of her. I leaned in further into her, and looked up at him and made eye contact. I said 'Let go of her now.' He hesitated a bit, and then let go of her."

Wise won't call herself a hero, and credits her motherly instincts and security training for her role in foiling the attempted abduction.

Like all the museum staff, Wise received training from Capital Police for security and emergencies.

The training taught her to recognize when someone is exhibiting suspicious behavior. She said she noticed Cavallaro was "lurking in the corner" near the gift shop, looking around like he was waiting for someone.

Wise said tried to keep her eye on him, while helping other guests. She said that helped her act quickly, when he attempted to take the child.

Police arrested Cavallaro in the parking lot minutes after the foiled abduction. He has been charged with assault and violation of release. Bail has been set at $1,000.

Cavallaro had been out on bail for unrelated assault and terrorizing charges in Sagadahoc County.


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