A South African supermarket employee has been arrested after he was caught on surveillance video brazenly snatching an 8-month-old baby from the mother’s shopping cart.
The shocking ordeal unfolded at a SuperSpar store in Alberton, just outside Johannesburg, last Sunday as the mom and her daughter were standing idly in front of a fridge in the butcher aisle, the Alberton Record reported.
The surveillance footage, which has since gone viral, shows the apron-wearing employee slowly approaching the pair as the unaware mother peered into the fridge.
Just seconds after the mom leaned over to pick up an item, the 43-year-old employee was caught on camera calmly lifting the baby girl out of the shopping cart and walking away.
The horrified mother chased the employee down moments later when she realized her daughter had vanished, the footage shows.
The employee could then be seen lingering and trying to explain his actions as the mom cradled her baby.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, the mom said the employee was laughing in the moments after the ordeal.
“He is smiling and laughing, telling me he walked past the trolley and my daughter’s arms were up, so he picked her up,” she wrote. “I keep saying this is not funny. You don’t touch a child, you don’t take a child. This isn’t a joke, and I don’t find it amusing.”
The mom added that the store manager had “advised he didn’t mean any harm.”
Police arrested the man on attempted kidnapping charges, while the store said the employee had been suspended.
The supermarket chain later issued a statement saying they were “extremely relieved” that the attempted kidnapping was foiled and were cooperating with the police probe.
“The SPAR Group is also reaching out to the family to offer any support they need, including counselling,” a spokesperson said.