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NC mom says 3 strangers tried to kidnap son from shopping cart

CHARLOTTE, NC (WTVD) — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are looking for three people who allegedly attempted to kidnap a toddler.

The child’s mother told the ABC affiliate WSOC that the trio worked together to distract her.

The incident happened Friday at a HomeGoods store in the Rivergate Mall in the popular Steele Creek shopping district.

Jillian Culp said she was pushing her 3-year-old son into a shopping cart when an elderly woman wearing a hat, sunglasses and a face mask asked for help.

“She said, ‘help, help,’ and just waved and said help, so I grabbed the crown and still had my hand on the cart,” Culp said. “Then she said, ‘oh no, two, two.’ So I said, ‘oh, you want the one behind?’ So, of course, to catch the second crown, I had to let go of the cart.”

She said the woman started asking her how much the items cost and that’s when Culp had a funny feeling realizing she was turning her back on her son.

“So I turned around and the one man had the blanket on my cart on top of my cart and more than half the cart on the back,” she recalled. “My son was crouched in the back trying to get away from him and I just yelled ‘no’ and pushed the blanket back and pushed the crown back and ran to the front of the store .”

She said the suspects, who were seen in surveillance footage, rushed out of the store with another man and an elderly woman.

All wore hats and masks.

Police are trying to determine if the suspects were targeting the child or Culp’s purse, which was in the shopping cart.

They warn parents to be aware of their surroundings.

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