The NYPD said on Friday officers have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with a brazen attempt to kidnap a 5-year-old boy off the street in Queens in front of the boy’s mother and siblings.
Police charged James McGonagle with attempted kidnapping, reckless endangerment of a child, and acting in a manner injurious to a child for attempting to snatch Jacob Diaz from his mother, Dolores Diaz Lopez, 45, reports said.
Lopez, flanked by two other children, can be seen in surveillance footage pulling her son out of the back passenger window of a burgundy sedan after it appears that McGonagle tossed the boy in from the driver’s side before hopping in and attempting to speed away.
Beforehand, the surveillance video shows McGonagle, who appears to be a person of color, snatching the boy from the sidewalk and running over to the vehicle to throw him in.
An older man who appears in separate surveillance video to be white and was allegedly McGonagle’s accomplice has not yet been found as of this writing. He was wearing an orange polo shirt and blue jeans with sunglasses.
NYPD officials said that two officers who were at Brookdale Hospital on an unrelated call recognized McGonagle from surveillance video, according to WABC. He was at the hospital allegedly seeking treatment for an unknown condition and was subsequently evaluated after being taken into custody.
UPDATE: A 24-year-old male has been arrested and charged with:
– Attempted Kidnapping
– Reckless Endangerment
– Acting in a Manner Injurious to a Child less than 17 https://t.co/WXxXyk5JEq
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 17, 2021
Lopez described the ordeal to local media.
“I said ‘oh my God my kids, oh my God my boy,” she said of the ultimately unsuccessful kidnapping attempt, according to WABC.
She told WNYW: ‘I fought, they say you fight tooth and nail for your children and that’s what I did.’
Continuing, Lopez said that initially when placed in the backseat by the kidnapper, her son merely sat down. But when she and her other children begged the kidnappers to give him back, her son stood up and she was able to get her hands on him.
The relieved mother said she has no idea why her son was targeted.
“I don’t know why that happened. I didn’t see those people, ever,” she explained, going on in Spanish that she reacted the way she did — fight to get her son back — because of her maternal instincts.
“You have to do what’s necessary, no matter what,” said said. “The car was just parked there. I would never have imagined that a man would get out of the car and grab my son. You always have to be aware of your surroundings and not be on your phone.”
Her son, Jacob, was reportedly playing video games on his phone later in the afternoon after the attempted kidnapping, but Lopez told WABC that all three of her children were traumatized by the incident and are now afraid to leave their home. Reports noted that she and her kids were bringing her husband, who was working nearby, some food.
“Mothers have to be careful with their children,” she said. “Always hold their hand when walking with them, because there are a lot of evil people and you never know who is near.”
Lopez expressed relief after she heard that one of the alleged kidnappers had been apprehended.
“My family, they all feel good. But now I know the man is not on the street and now I can rest and I know my family is okay,” she told the New York Daily News. “He can’t do this with another kid.”
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