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Woman who allegedly tried to kidnap toddler at Liberty Midlands Mall appears in court

Woman who allegedly tried to kidnap toddler at Liberty Midlands Mall appears in court

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Durban – Police said a woman who allegedly grabbed a 4-year-old from her father at Liberty Midlands Mall on Sunday night appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala said the 25-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday by Pietermaritzburg police and charged with kidnapping.

Gwala said the suspect appeared in court on Tuesday.

“It is alleged by the complainant that at 18:30, he was at a mall in Pietermaritzburg with his 4-year-old daughter when an unknown suspect grabbed his daughter and fled the scene,” she said.

According to Gwala, the father chased after the suspect and managed to apprehend her. He then called the police.

In a statement on Monday, a day after the alleged kidnapping attempt, Liberty Midlands Mall issued a statement on its Facebook page regarding the incident.

The mall said it is aware of the posts circulating on social media, regarding the incident.

“Upon reviewing security footage, Liberty Midlands Mall management can confirm that on Sunday, 30 October at approximately 18:30, a small group of soccer fans entered the mall. One of the fans proceeded to pick up a small child in their path. The intention of this individual is unknown,” said the statement.

The statement said the mall security team reacted swiftly and escorted the supporter to the security office for further questioning.

“SAPS was alerted and urgently responded to the scene to deal with the matter. The child was not harmed and returned safely to their parent,” said the mall, adding that it prioritises the safety and security of shoppers, staff and tenants and that trading would continue as normal.

According to reports the woman made a brief appearance and the case was postponed until next week.

The National Prosecuting Authority had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

In a separate incident in September, “The Mercury” reported that a 1-year-old girl was snatched from a trolley at a store in Cleary Park in Gqeberha.

Police said the parents were shopping in the store with the child seated in the trolley. While they were busy at the fridges, with their backs turned to the trolley, a woman allegedly walked up to the child, touched her and then walked away.

“Within seconds, another female snatched the child and walked away,” said police. When the father turned around and noticed the child was gone, he ran to the security at the door.

“As the security guard was about to close the doors, the first woman pointed out to the father that the child was with the second suspect. The women indicated that they were just joking with the parents,” said the police.

The suspects were detained and a case of kidnapping was opened.

Here are some #sapsHINTs on child safety in public:

  • You must always be able to see your child and they must always be able to see you.
  • Dress children in brightly coloured clothes to make them easy to spot.
  • Do not leave your children alone at video arcades, movie theatres, play areas or other public spaces.


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