Police said that the incident took place at approximately 9:30 AM at the Westbourne Playground on Mott Avenue and Bay 28th Street. A woman, who was later identified as Tawana Blount, tried to create a diversion by grabbing a bag belonging to the child’s mother and flinging it over a nearby fence. When the mother turned to see what had happened, Blount grabbed the child by the arm and said “come here little girl.” The mother seized the child and began screaming as Blount fled the park.
A special security alert released by the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol said that the mother immediately borrowed a phone from a Parks Department employee and called 911. Police officers from the 101st Precinct arrived on scene quickly but were unable to locate the perpetrator who was last seen heading northwest on Mott Avenue.
According to RNSP member Elkanah Adelman, a woman who matched the description of the perpetrator had been known to frequent the park and act in a bizarre manner. Local residents contacted the security patrol when that woman returned to the park on Monday.
“We called the mother to see if this woman was the same person who tried kidnapping her daughter,” Adelman told VIN News. “She was buying groceries at Seasons but we told her to leave everything. We brought the mother over to try to identify the suspect but she told us right away that it wasn’t her.”
An RNSP member was taking the mother back to Seasons when a member of the security patrol spotted another woman who matched the description of the would-be kidnapper.
“We brought the mother over to look at the second woman and she said right away that she was 1000 percent sure that she was the one we were looking for,” said Adelman.
The RNSP called police, keeping an eye on the suspect until officers arrived on scene.
Blount, who lives on Egmont Place in Bayswater, was arrested by police and charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17 and harassment.