NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect was in custody Friday evening in the attempted abduction of an 8-month-old baby boy in Chelsea.
The suspect — identified as Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was at Bellevue Hospital under police guard Friday night, police sources told CBS 2.
The abduction attempt happened near the corner of 17th Street and Eighth Avenue around 4 p.m. Thursday as a nanny was pushing the baby in a stroller, police said.
Investigators said the woman walked up to the nanny and began mumbling something. She then tried to pull the stroller away from the nanny, police said.
After a struggle, police said the woman fled southbound on Eighth Avenue.
William Marte, a UPS driver nearby, stepped in to help.
“The lady that grabbed the stroller by the handle – she was saying, ‘You’re a liar! These are my babies!’ And I told the lady, ‘Please, just get off of it; just walk away, because apparently, you have some problems.’ Then she walked away,” Marte said.
Marte, a 51-year-old father, said he did what any parent would do.
“I did what came from my heart – what I’m supposed to, because I’ve got two kids. I did what I was supposed to do,” Marte said.
McDonald has a lengthy arrest record in New York and elsewhere, according to police.
According to police, she has been arrested 12 times in New York City, including five attempted kidnappings and two actual kidnappings dating back to 1994. She’s also been arrested for robbery, disorderly conduct, felony assault, petit larceny and DWI.
She had three additional arrests in Nassau County and one in Florida, police said.
McDonald served more than a year in prison for an attempted kidnapping in 1998, police said.
On Friday afternoon, police flyers bearing McDonald’s mug shot were being posted all around Chelsea, CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported. Police officers continued to canvass the area, searching for their suspect.
Though McDonald was in police custody Friday evening, parents were second-guessing their safety.
“It’s very family-oriented. It’s nice. We thought it was safe until yesterday,” said Gloria Proni.
“It’s shocking, but our neighborhood is pretty safe – like, I’ve never had any issues. I walk her at all hours of the night, and really early in the morning. It’s fine,” said Jonette Raus of Chelsea.
The parents now plan on being more cautious following the incident.
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