CLEVELAND — Surveillance video captured the moment a distraught mother ran out of a Cleveland convenience store while a stranger took off in her car with a child in the backseat.
“It’s scary to think that people can just walk up to your car and take it like it’s their own and it’s very unpredictable what people can do,” said Motaz Dahdouh, the manager of the Convenient Food Mart where the incident occurred.
According to Cleveland police, Candance Hunter, 35, was arrested and charged with kidnapping. The incident happened at the food mart located on East 152nd Street and St. Clair Avenue around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Surveillance video shows Hunter repeatedly trying to gain access to vehicles parked outside the store.
Dahdough said he has more than a dozen cameras rolling in and around the store. He said Hunter is a regular who he has never witnessed cause trouble.
“She came in and out in and out and then it looked off because she started going up to random cars and trying to open them,” said Dahdouh.
A police report states the mother, who is not identified, left the vehicle running with her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat. The child’s mother told officers she went into the store to get her little girl a juice box.
Cleveland police say the mother is not currently charged with any crime.
One mother who shops at the store said this situation is an important reminder to never leave children unattended in a running car.
“Get out, take them with me because it’s too dangerous. Anything can happen and they are so young,” said Shante Bradley, a customer.
Surveillance video showed that Hunter did not get very far. Several good Samaritans used their vehicles to block her exit, as the child’s mother was being dragged according to police.
Dahdouh said he is proud of his community who worked together to help a desperate mother in her time of need.
“This is just one moment that the community came together and helped one person out and they probably saved the child’s life,” he said.