November 26, 2012
A child being kidnapped is one of a parent's worst fears, and on Saturday afternoon, that was about to come true for one family.
The Albemarle County Police Department says that a 2-year old girl was walking with her parents through the mall when a man picked her up and started walking away. Her dad then ran after the man and rescued her.
"Between 2:00 and 2:30, at the Fashion Square Mall, there was an attempted abduction. Right now, we're trying to figure out whose responsible for that and make sure that person is brought into custody," said Albemarle County Police spokeswoman Carter Johnson.
Police tell us mall security escorted the suspect off the property without getting his name and that they did not call the police to investigate.
"We were contacted hours after the original incident and we were contacted by the family who wanted to make sure an investigation was ongoing," Johnson said.
"What really surprised me was the fact that the gentleman was allowed to leave Fashion Square Mall property without officials coming in," said mall shopper Barbara Stevens.
The Albemarle County Police Department can't speak on behalf of mall security. When we reached out to the mall, its parent company, Simon Property Group, released the following statement:
"This incident is now a police matter and, of course, we are fully cooperating with their investigation. Every piece of information that we have in our possession as well as witness reports have been turned over to the police for their follow-up."
Many shoppers are still concerned about their safety and Stevens said that more children could be in danger.
"There's a ton of children inside the mall right now visiting Santa," she said. "There's some other poor unsuspecting child potentially at risk because of what happened."
The Albemarle County Police Department says the case is still under investigation. They also say you shouldn't be scared to be in public or at the mall, but they do want you to be more aware of your surroundings.