PORTLAND, Maine — It’s every parent’s nightmare.
You’re distractedly trying to figure out which leafy green is Swiss chard in your local grocery store, when, suddenly, you look down and your baby is gone.
The horror of kidnapping briefly became a reality for a Portland father last week, when his 2-month old child vanished from the produce department of a Hannaford Supermarket.
Around 1 p.m. on Friday, the grocers issued a “Code Adam Alert,” the store was locked down and law enforcement rushed to the scene, where officers began looking for a man in his 30s wearing a yellow shirt and a white hat with an orange brim.
Now, however, police are saying that the incident was just a mix up and the alleged abduction never made it past the bread aisle.
Surveillance video from that afternoon shows that the incident was set off when a man mistakenly grabbed the wrong shopping cart only to realize several aisles later that there was an infant in it, a police spokesman said in a Wednesday statement.
By the time the man realized he had taken someone else’s child along with their groceries, he was already on the far side of the store, according to police.
Upon realizing his mistake, the man, who police did not name, rushed in a panic back to the produce section, where he found his cart but failed to notify store employees.
He left the baby and cart sitting in aisle 19, surrounded by bread.
Police said the child was quickly found and was never in any danger. The confused shopper was not charged with a crime because the Cumberland County district attorney determined that “while it was terrifying for the parents, there is no apparent criminal action” in the incident.
“It is important for our citizens to know that as disturbing as this incident was, it was not an attempt to abduct a child,” said Portland police Chief Michael Sauschuck.
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