A vigilant Target employee jotted down the license plate number of a customer who gave her a ‘weird feeling’ Friday, and ended up saving an abducted child. Roxanna Ramirez, a loss prevention specialist at the Pittsburg store in the Bay Area of California, noticed a man acting strangely in the aisles Friday morning. After monitoring him for some time in the store and in the parking lot, she took down his registration details then thought nothing of it.
However, that night, police put out an Amber Alert for 7-year-old Natalie Calvo with a suspect matching the man’s description, and Ramirez called in his information. Just 45 minutes later, officers rescued the child and arrested the alleged abductor, David Douglas.
Authorities later hailed the 22-year-old a hero for her quick-thinking.
‘He was just fidgeting around. I wasn’t getting a good vibe off of him,’ she told ABC News.
On Tuesday night, the accused kidnapper admitted he snatched the girl from in front of her home in a jailhouse interview with ABC News. Douglas said he did not harm the little girl and claimed the abduction wasn’t his idea. He denied having a mental illness and said he believed there was a government conspiracy to control every aspect of his life, which drove him to stalk a number of big-box stores that day, following three different small children. Douglas told the network he took little Natalie because she would be the easiest to grab.
‘I actually just walked up to her and she came with me relatively easy, I mean, I appeared to be someone who could be familiar to her, you know, with her ethnicity,’ he explained calmly from jail.
‘So I just sort of put my hands out, and she was kind of startled but she put her hand out and she just, kind of, came with me. And then she turned back and said, “mommy” after we were already getting (in) the car. And that’s when her mom came and was alarmed. And I had to kind of hurry up and scoot her out of there.’
He said both he and the little girl were terrified at that point.
‘She was, when she, I got her in the car, she said she was scared. She said, “I’m scared.” I said, “I know, I’m scared too.” We were both shaken up for about an hour; it took us both to calm down.’
He said he has a son of his own who is the same age as the girl he nabbed and described his predicament as ‘just a bizarre situation that I really need to get out of desperately.’ Douglas told ABC that he has been living in the Antioch Marina in his car for two months after his family kicked him out and he expected the police to show up there.
On the way there, however, he said he stopped at several hotels, looking for a more comfortable place for him and the girl to stay. During the bizarre interview, Douglas, who is being held on a $4 million bond, offered a long and tearful apology to Natalie and her family and said he was sincerely sorry for terrifying them.
Ramirez’ job is to monitor thefts instore. She said she noticed the 43-year-old at around 9:50 a.m. when he walked in wearing a backpack. She followed him for a while then retreated to a surveillance room where she continued to monitor his via security cameras, according to the Consta Costa Times.
Finally he left the store, but remained in the parking lot for a couple more hours, pacing around his car, changing clothes and behaving erratically.
‘He was being a weirdo outside, and I just got a weird feeling,’ she told the Times.
She became even more alarmed when he parked his gold Toyota Camry next to her own car, she said.
‘At one point, he sat in his car and grabbed the steering wheel and started shaking it violently,’ Ramirez recalled. ‘It was kind of scary. ‘So she zoomed in the camera on his license plate and took down the number, just in case. The car was gone when she returned from lunch, she said and she promptly forgot about it.
But that night, after her shift, she was at home and her girlfriend noticed on her Facebook account that an Amber Alert had been issued. The suspect had followed a mother and daughter home from the Antioch Walmart and pulled the daughter into his car, police said. Ramirez’ girlfriend proceeded to read aloud the details of the reported kidnapping, including a vague description of the car and the suspect.
‘I was like, “Hold on …” This was the guy in the store. He looked like that, and that matched the car description,’ she told the Times. The woman phoned police before 10 p.m. with the information from her notebook and police said they used the license plate number to identify Douglas.
They learned he frequented the Antioch Marina, which is where an officer found him and the girl about 10:45 p.m. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. The child wasn’t physically harmed and was reunited with her family four hours after she was taken.
‘What she did was what truly broke the case,’ said Antioch police Lt. Tammany Brooks.
Detectives were so impressed by her preemptive actions they went to her house to congratulate her, according to the Times.
‘That’s when my heart started jumping,’ she said. ‘I was feeling great that I helped bring the little girl home.’
Source – dailymail.co.uk