Suzanne received this today from a coworker, whose friend up in Jerseyville wrote it and sent it along. Amazing and frightening. I’m copying, as-is, without verification of any sort, so take it as such. At the very least it’s a reminder of the dangers for our kids in society at large:
I’m not sending this email to scare everyone, but I will just sleep better at night knowing all of my friends are aware of this. Over this past weekend a good friend of our family was at the Jerseyville Walmart with her two sons. Her youngest son, who is 4, was at the end of the same aisle she was in as she was looking at some stuff with the other son. When she looked up a few seconds later the 4 year old son was gone. She obviously panicked and when she walked to the next aisle searching for him a man who she did not know was carrying him up on his shoulders! When she looked shocked and started to react the man simply put him down and walked away, never saying a word. For some reason she did not react, she said her first thought was that he was just being friendly so she did not freak out or get security. Later that day she posted about the incident on facebook and everyone, myself included, told her she needed to call Walmart and report it. I guess she didn’t realize what a big deal it was until she heard everyone’s reaction on FB. So Walmart tells her they have surveillance on every aisle and they will look at it and call her back. In the meantime she questioned her son about what happened and he told her “the man told me to come here let’s scare the [expletive] out of your mom”. Tonight my mom called me and said she talked to her. When the manager at Walmart called her back he told her that not only do they have the man on surveillance following her around the entire store before he picked up her son, they have him on surveillance following them out to her car as she is leaving. Thank God nothing happened, but this left me with chills tonight, as this man has not yet been found. However, the [guy] was stupid enough to use his debit card while at the store which they traced to a bank in Godfrey. Walmart has contacted the police and they are pressing charges, for exactly what I do not know at this time.
So let this be a scary reminder that all it takes is a split second where you could be looking for something on a shelf and quickly take your eyes off of your kid and something could happen. We are all guilty of being complacent and feeling like “nothing like that could happen to me”. This man was able to follow her around before and after grabbing her son, and then still follow them to the car all while she was oblivious to it all. Who knows what stopped him once he got to the parking lot, but those of you with more than one kid remember that if you are putting one of your kids in the car and the other is waiting outside of the car with your back to them all it takes is a split second so put them both in at the same time. Also, she said she did not think as much of it at first because he was decently dressed and looked like a “normal guy” so you never know.