Police: Portland grocery store 'abduction' a mistake

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PORTLAND — Police on Wednesday said a man who grabbed a grocery store shopping cart with a 2-month-old infant inside on Oct. 20 did so by accident.

“It is a very frightening event for all parents and raised safety concerns in our community. It is important for our citizens to know that as disturbing as this incident was, it was not an attempt to abduct a child,” Chief Michael Sauschuck said in an Oct. 25 press release.

The incident began about 1 p.m. in the produce section at the Hannaford Bros. store at 295 Forest Ave., when the infant’s father was momentarily distracted, police said. The infant was in a car seat in the cart, which was mistakenly wheeled away by another shopper. 

Police said it took less than a minute for the man who took the cart to realize his mistake. Police said he later admitted he panicked and left the infant in the bread section when he returned to the produce section to get his own cart.

The man who accidentally took the cart was criticized for not immediately stepping forward, but the Cumberland County district attorney’s office found no criminal intent, according to the press release.