SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Witnesses jumped into action to help officers arrest a man after he tried to kidnap an infant from the child’s babysitter in San Bernardino, California, on Tuesday morning, police said.
Officers were called to the 1400 block of North D Street at 9:37 a.m., where they found a security guard holding down the attempted kidnapper, 35-year-old Edgar Valdez, until police could arrive, San Bernardino Police Department Lt. Rich Lawhead told KTLA.
Babysitter Carmen Perez was taking the infant out of a car seat to put the child in a stroller when she says she saw a strange man running toward her, the lieutenant said.
Afraid for herself and the baby, a little girl named Chloe, she tried to get into a nearby business. But the man reached her before she could get inside, Lawhead said.
Valdez tried to wrestle the stroller away from the woman, even pushing her to the ground, but she wouldn’t let go, according to Lawhead. He called her “relentless” in her efforts to save the infant.
"I was scared that something happen to her, so I do the best thing I can. So I tried to push her with me," Perez said. "He pushed me away."
When the stroller tipped over, knocking a crying Chloe out, the man ran away.
Witnesses to the struggle followed him, and saw him changing clothes behind a business. That’s when the security guard, Martin Aguilar, responded, pinning Valdez down.
Aguilar said he put Valdez under "citizen's arrest" after hearing Perez's cries for help. He and three other people detained Valdez until police arrived.
Both Perez and the child were taken to a hospital. The babysitter received some abrasions to her arm but the baby did not appear injured, Lawhead said.
"I'd do everything I could to hire that babysitter," Lawhead said. "Obviously, she takes her job pretty seriously, and she did everything she could to make sure the baby was protected."
Valdez was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of attempted kidnapping and child endangerment.