A Target employee in California is really taking her loss prevention specialist title seriously: Police say she helped crack a recent kidnapping case wide open when she noticed a customer acting a bit off in her store. The worker took down the man’s license plate number and ultimately, helped return a little girl to her family.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the worker noticed a man in her store last Friday morning because he was wearing a backpack. So she trailed him for a bit before setting up to watch him in the surveillance room.
He went back out to the parking lot and stayed there for hours, smoking cigarettes, walking around his car, changing his clothes and generally being strange, the worker explained. He was also parked next to her car, which made her pay even closer attention.
“He was being a weirdo outside, and I just got a weird feeling,” she said. “At one point, he sat in his car and grabbed the steering wheel and started shaking it violently,”she added. “It was kind of scary.”
So she took down his license plate number in a notebook she always has on her, for just such occasions. He was gone when she got back from lunch and forgot about him for a bit. When she got home after her shift, her girlfriend happened to comment on something she saw on Facebook about an Amber Alert that had just been issued, and read aloud the description of the car and suspect.
“I was like, ‘Hold on …’ This was the guy in the store. He looked like that, and that matched the car description,” she recalled.
At first she hesitated to call the cops, until her girlfriend asked, “What if that little girl was one of your sisters?”
So she called cops and told them the information she had on the man. From there, police were able to identify the suspect and learn his usual hangouts. Officers found him at one such spot with the girl, just four hours after she’d been abducted.
“What she did was what truly broke the case,” said a police lieutenant, adding that detectives went to the Target worker’s house to tell her the good news.
“That’s when my heart started jumping, and I was feeling great that I helped bring the little girl home,” she said.
Detectives arrested the man on suspicion of kidnapping, saying he had apparently followed the girl and her mother home from Walmart on Friday and pulled the daughter into his car.
Antioch kidnapping: Pittsburg Target store employee cracks case, police say [Contra Costa Times]