A Fort Bend County mother fears a man tried to kidnap her baby at a grocery store this weekend. It was caught on security camera video, and now Houston Police are investigating.
Florence Monauer was at the H Mart in southwest Houston Saturday on Bellaire at Beltway 8. A stranger came by, spoke to her baby, then walked away. Monauer turned to look at an item on the shelf. A moment later, she heard the baby shopping cart cover move, she looked up and saw the man pulling her 14-month-old out of the cart.
“At no point did he talk to me. He never asked me to pick up my baby," Monauer said. “He said the strangest thing to me, ‘I wanted to take you when your mom wasn’t looking.’”
She was frazzled and upset and thought about the incident for hours.
“I was conditioned to be nice to people," said the 33-year-old, who grew up in an Asian family in Jersey Village. "I don’t want to falsely accuse someone if in case this guy was just awkward and didn’t understand boundaries."
The more she thought about what happened, the more she pondered over odd elements. He had been silent picking up the baby. There was no noise until the cart cover’s fabric moved.
“He didn’t have a shopping cart, no merchandise," Monauer said. "The more I thought about it, the more creeped out I felt.”
Later that night, Monauer, an attorney, called the police and filed a report the next day.
“For me, the crime of attempting to kidnap someone was completed the moment when he picked up my child with my back turned and without my consent," she said.
She is hoping to see the other security camera video of the man. Did he have a shopping cart in another aisle? Did he approach any other kids?
H Mart store employees do not recognize the man on the video, speculating he may be a first-time shopper. HPD homicide, which investigates all attempted abductions, has requested a copy of security camera video from that afternoon.