Police in Perry, Utah, are investigating an alleged attempt to kidnap a 3-year-old girl from a Walmart store Nov. 25.
The girl was sitting in her grandmother’s shopping cart when the incident, which was captured on surveillance camera, took place, according to media reports.
in the footage, a man can be seen walking down the aisle towards the cart. He puts a finger up to his lips in an apparent sign for the child to be quiet before grabbing hold of the cart.
The girl’s 14-year-old sister raised the alarm by shouting to attract her grandmother’s attention and the man let go of the cart.
The teenager alleged that the man spoke to her, saying she was very protective of her sister. “Will you come guard my dogs,” he reportedly added, according to KUTV.
The grandmother did not realize what had happened and was only informed by the teenager when they returned home that the man had grabbed the cart. She then reported the incident to police.
The man, who has yet to be identified, turned himself in when he saw himself on the surveillance footage broadcast on the news. He was questioned but has not been charged with any crime.
Police say the man spent a total of four hours in the Walmart store Nov. 25, but there is no indication of any similar incidents taking place.
One local resident alleged the reported kidnapping attempt was part of a worrying trend.
“We've had numerous reports of people trying to pick up kids from school, and it's kind of getting out of control around here,” Rocky Loveland told Fox 13.
The children’s parents spoke to KUTV Nov. 26 to praise their daughter’s actions.
“She did everything that we taught her to do,” the 14-year-old’s mother told KUTV (2).
“We could have had a very different Thanksgiving today than we did,” she added.
“She reacted completely appropriate and we're very proud of her,” the father said.
Police say they will decide in the coming days whether the man will be charged.