NC mom says 3 strangers tried to kidnap son from shopping cart

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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A Charlotte mom recalled the encounter where she says three strangers worked to distract her in an attempt to abduct her 3-year-old

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are looking for three people who may have tried to kidnap a toddler.

The child's mother told ABC affiliate WSOC that the trio worked together to distract her.

The incident happened Friday inside a HomeGoods store at the Rivergate Shopping Center in the popular Steele Creek shopping area.

Jillian Culp said she was pushing her 3-year-old son in a shopping cart when an elderly woman wearing a hat, sunglasses, and face mask asked her for help.

"She said, 'help, help,' and just motioning and saying help, so I grabbed the wreath and still had my hand on the cart," Culp said. "Then she said, 'oh no, two, two.' So i said, 'oh, you want the one behind it?' So, of course, to grab the second wreath I had to let go of the cart."

She said the woman started asking her how much the items were and that's when Culp got a funny feeling realizing her back was turned to her son.

"So, I turned back around and the one male had the blanket over my cart over the top of my cart and over half of the cart in the back," she recalled. "My son was crouching down in the back trying to get away from him and i just screamed, 'no' and pushed the blanket off and pushed the wreath back and ran up to the front of the store."

She said the suspects, who were seen in surveillance images, rushed out of the store along with another man and an elderly woman.

All of them were wearing hats and facemasks.

Police are trying to determine whether the suspects were targeting the child or Culp's purse, which was in the shopping cart.

They are warning parents to be aware of their surroundings.