ST. GEORGE — The St. George Police Department is investigating a report of an alleged kidnap attempt at Target retail store located at 275 S. River Road in St. George.
Police are requesting the public’s help Thursday in identifying a woman wanted for questioning in the active investigation.
At approximately 3:21 p.m. Wednesday, an unidentified woman was involved in a “very suspicious incident” at Target involving a 2-year-old boy, St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said, noting that a police report regarding the incident was filed Thursday.
The woman wanted for questioning is described as being 50-60 years old, with short brown hair and a nose piercing, Trombley said, adding that the woman was wearing a teal-colored shirt with dark shorts.
Allyson Barlow posted on Facebook Thursday, urging mothers to be extra cautious at stores with their children after she said the unidentified woman tried to abduct her 2-year-old boy while she was shopping at Target.
“I was in the children’s clothing section and I turned around for a second,” Barlow stated in the post. “When I turned back around a woman had taken the stroller with (the child) in it and started walking away with him.”
The woman quickly apologized, but wouldn’t take her hand off the stroller right away, Barlow added, noting that the woman then touched her arm and said: “I’m so sorry. I have no idea what I was doing.”
The woman followed Barlow for a brief moment before Barlow left the store, she said.
“The security camera confirmed that she had just been walking along and the second she noticed (the child), she dropped her cart in the middle of the isle and came over and took him,” Barlow said.
Barlow said the woman looked “harmless” and had a nice, soft-spoken and calming voice.
Because the incident is actively being investigated by police, Trombley said Thursday evening that she could only provide limited information and that she was unable to confirm that the incident was an attempted kidnapping.
“While we’re currently investigating this incident, we can’t confirm that that’s what it was,” Trombley said. “The incident was, indeed, very suspicious and we are actively working to determine what happened there.”
As this report is published, Trombley said the Police Department is working to get surveillance photos of the woman released to the public for help in identifying the suspect.
The Police Department briefly posted photos on its Facebook Thursday of another woman matching the suspect’s description, but quickly removed the photos after determining the woman was not involved in the reported incident.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300 and reference incident No. 17P013312.
Trombley said it’s important for citizens to remember to keep an extra eye on their children whenever they’re surrounded by other people in public.
“Things like this, we like to take an opportunity to just remind our parents, you know, that’s always a possibility when we go out and about,” she said. “There’s always a possibility that something could happen. So, you should always be diligent and pay extra attention, which in this case, you know, the mother was right there and paying attention.”
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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