I heard about this story just over a month ago and since then, I have been holding onto my kids like crazy. I’ve also read similar posts by Celeste from Reluctant mom about an attempted kidnapping at Pick n Pay, you can read both here posts here and here.
Please read this and share with your friends and family.
FYI: ATTEMPTED CHILD KIDNAPPING AT TYGERVALLEY
This happened to a family from another school at Tyger Valley. Please read it and spread the word.Hi Jeanne & AimeeWe have learnt hard lessons around the dangers that lurk for our children in public places – and we’d like to share this with as many parents as we can so that they too can become more aware & vigilant.Last Saturday we were shopping at a nearby mall and our 3 year old daughter, went missing. We were together at Truworths and she ran out with her father running after her. When he got outside the store, she was missing. The security remembers her running past but nothing else. He returned to me inside the store hoping that she had run back inside in the meantime. She was not with me either and we started panicking.We immediately alerted mall security and started looking everywhere. The security guards and shop owners / employees were very helpful – helping us to look in every store, down every passage, in the toilets and even the parking lot. After 30 mins of looking for her we were absolutely frantic!!! All kinds of things went through our mind and after so long away from us, we were very worried about how our little princess was feeling.
After 45 mins we got a call from a parking security guard that he thinks he might have her with him …we ran from all corners of the mall to see if it really was her. There she was, sitting on the security guard’s lap waiting for us – looking equally relieved to be with us again. We could not stop crying and thanking everyone for their help.Back at the centre management office, we learnt that the security guard has spotted 2 men struggling with her up the elevators (she is afraid of escalators and lifts!!). When they reached the top, which was close to an entrance, she
broker free from them and ran straight to the “police” (actually the security guard). He did not manage to chase after the 2 men because he has her in his arms and they made a quick escape. We have also learnt from mall video footage that the 2 men entered the centre after 8 that morning already, had taken photos of another girl in Pick n Pay earlier but disappeared when the mom questioned them, and that they had attempted to leave the mall with our daughter through another entrance but turned back inside when they saw the security guards. They had also changed clothes in between this and the security guard identified them as a tall Chinese and short African black guy. Later footage shows them leaving in a bakkie but the police have since learnt that the reg number is false and the bakkie was stolen 3 days before. We would never have found our daughter or the thugs if they had managed to escape with her.
We are greatful to the centre management and security for their quick response, thank all the shoppers and shop owners who helped us look for her and am most greatful to God for returning her to us safely.It is important for us to be aware of our surroundings, and to trust our gut feeling – as parents we often don’t want to offend but if you feel uncomfortable about any situation re your child, you have every right to speak up and raise your concern. We are responsible for our children’s safety and the police suspect that these guys follow families around that look like easy targets and then just wait for the right moment before they do our children harm. Many stories regarding similar incidents are now surfacing – with children from different age groups being a target (so it’s not just small children). Most malls, we’ve learnt have limited security and we therefore need to be the ears & eyes that pick up any irregularities. This is not only applicable to our own children – the children of SA need to be protected from adults who want to do them harm.We certainly will never again walk past an uncomfortable situation involving a child without asking questions and we definitely are becoming more vigilant about our children’s whereabouts in public spaces – you should too, children need good adults to protect them from bad adults!!!!Please, this is a scary message but is very real,and it happened to us – it can happen to you too!!!