SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — Santa Rosa police have arrested a 41-year-old woman in connection with an attempted kidnapping of a 4-year-old girl from a Trader Joe’s on Thursday morning, according to police Sgt. Dave Marconi.
The kidnapping happened at around 10:35 a.m. at the Trader Joe’s located at 2100 Santa Rosa Avenue, police said. When officers arrived, they said they found out a woman had taken a 4-year-old girl from inside the store and walked out.
Police identified the suspect as Tina Szczepanek, a transient from Lake County, Marconi said. The mother and victim did not know Szczepanek.
“Szczepanek went into Trader Joe’s and grabbed the victim, who was putting one of the small shopping cart away by the main entry/exit doors. The mother of the victim was at the checkout stands and watched as the victim was putting the small cart away. At that time, a witness heard Szczepanek say something to the effect of “she is mine”, grab and pick up the victim, and walk out of the store,” Marconi said.
The mother ran out of the store after Szczepanek and her daughter, who were about 30 feet outside the store.
“The mother caught up to Szczepanek and yelled at her to put her down. Szczepanek put the victim down and walked away into the parking lot,” Marconi said.
Officers arrested Szczepanek in the shopping center parking lot on charges of kidnapping.
She was booked into the Sonoma county Jail.