Surveillance video shows man trying to take baby from cart while mother is momentarily distracted

HOUSTON, Texas – A Houston mother couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

According to KIAH, Florence Monauer was shopping at an H-Mart Saturday when she briefly turned her back. While Monauer was looking at items on the shelf, a man came by and picked her baby up out of her shopping cart.

Monauer had a seat cover in the cart; her daughter was strapped to the cover. In turn, the cover itself was strapped to the cart, meaning the man couldn’t take her daughter, Emery, with him.

The little girl started to scream, and Monauer, confounded and scared, confronted the man. She said he told her daughter, “Aww. I was just trying to take you while your mom wasn’t looking.”

"She was attached to the shopping cart cover and I think if it weren't for that cover he probably would have taken off with her altogether," Monauer told KTRK.

She said the man didn’t speak to her directly during the entire encounter, which was captured by store surveillance cameras. Monauer wondered if the man was just overly friendly and didn’t realize that what he’d just done was inappropriate.

She didn’t want to make a big scene or assume the worst about people, but she said the more she looks at the video, the worse it appears. She thought about the incident for hours and later called an attorney. They filed a report about the encounter the next day.

Houston police are investigating the incident as a possible attempted abduction. The man has not been identified or charged with a crime.