Authorities in France on Tuesday arrested a 34-year-old Sudanese national suspected of attempting to kidnap two children including a 2-year-old girl in separate incidents.
Corbeil-Essonnes (Essonne) municipal police apprehended a suspect in the city center on Tuesday afternoon after an incident in a nearby store where a man sought to lead a toddler astray.
According to a report by French news outlet Actu17, the little girl was sitting in her stroller at around 10 a.m. with her childminder when an unknown man grabbed her by the hand in an attempt to retrieve her.
“The little girl started screaming and the childminder, who was paying at the checkout, turned around and made the man run away,” a source close to the case said.
The police were alerted and used the store’s video-protection footage to obtain images of the perpetrator. Several photos of the suspect were recovered, and at around 12:30 p.m., municipal police officers spotted the alleged perpetrator on a nearby street. The man was immediately arrested and taken into custody at the Évry police station.
Investigators from the BSU (urban security brigade) then made the connection with a similar case that occurred on Thursday, Nov. 23, in the Corbeil-Essonnes Quick restaurant on Boulevard Georges-Michel.
“The perpetrator matched this 34-year-old man,” confirmed the same source. That day, an 8-year-old child in the playground was approached by an unknown man who took his hand. The child’s mother witnessed the incident and asked a security guard for help. She filed a complaint. Neither child was injured.
Already known to the police, the suspect is believed to be in France illegally, according to local media.
He was to undergo a psychiatric examination to determine whether he was mentally capable of being held in police custody.