NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of a 3-year-old in the Bronx is counting their blessings after she was almost abducted Monday.
A man tried to snatch the toddler while she was walking with her grandmother and younger brothers in Throggs Neck.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Issues Vaccine Mandate For All New York City Municipal Workers, Including First Responders
On Tuesday, her mother spoke to CBS2’s John Dias.
“We are happy it’s over. We are thankful,” she said.
In an exclusive interview, the Bronx mother said as grateful as her family is, they’re still traumatized, so she didn’t want to show her face, or identify her family. Her daughter was almost kidnapped less than a mile away from their home. The grandmother was babysitting, and the intense moments were captured on surveillance video first seen on CBS2.
“She was walking back from the park back home with the twins and the little one,” the mother said.
The grandmother was trying to cross over East Tremont Avenue with the kids to Baisley Avenue, when police say 27-year-old Santiago Salcedo, seen wrapped in a blanket, picked up the girl and tried to run away with her.
The grandmother didn’t let that happen, chasing after him as they girls’ younger brothers stood by, terrified.
“Of course, she yelled at the guy to stop, and to give us my little daughter,” the mother said. “He dropped her after a couple of steps. Other people who were at the station were really responding.”
One of those people was gas station attendant Fermin Bracero.
“It was like a movie, but this is real life. It was crazy,” Bracero said. “He must have gotten scared or something, dropped the girl, put the little girl down, and walked away like nothing.”READ MORE: Employee Stabbed To Death At East Harlem Deli
The pack of good Samaritans then started their own search team.
“We went looking for him, but couldn’t find him,” Bracero said.
But police did. Officers said Salcedo fled on a scooter, then ditched it and walked off. Police found him a mile away, sleeping in the doorway of Tosca Rooftop Garden Bar.
Salcedo was silent but smiling as authorities walked him out of a Bronx police precinct Monday in handcuffs. He’s facing several charges, including kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.
The community was stunned.
“It’s terrible. I want to move,” Thea Johnson said.
“It’s scary for mothers and grandparents, especially grandparents because we are older,” said Throggs Neck resident Francine Pfeiffer.
But at least this horror story ended with plenty of gratitude.
“There was literally a couple of people who chased the guy and helped us with police, so I’d like to thank them,” the mother said.
The Bronx mother said there isn’t enough thanks in the world she can show the group that helped, especially Bracero, but said she’ll start with taking him to dinner.
Salcedo is expected to be arraigned in court sometime Tuesday.MORE NEWS: Viral Video Shows Unmasked NYPD Officer Pushing Masked Commuter Out Of Subway Station
Police said he has no criminal record in New York City.