San Francisco police arrest woman in alleged child snatching attempt

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SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Police on Monday arrested a woman accused of trying to snatch a 2-year-old boy from the arms of his mother who was visiting San Francisco's Ferry Building, authorities said.

The identity of the suspect was pending and it was not immediately clear what charges will be filed in the case.

Several onlookers watched the woman as she tried to grab the boy from his mother around 9:30 a.m. The child was said to be unhurt during the incident.

San Francisco police Capt. Jack Hart said the mother struggled with the woman during the snatching attempt. The woman was tackled by witnesses when she tried to run from the area. Witnesses said two workers from the Golden Gate Meat Company sprang into action and held the suspect on the floor until police arrived.

The incident occurred near the Acme bread stand. 

"There was screaming involved," said Tanya Davis, who was visiting from Sacramento and witnessed the event. "The little boy was crying [and] emotions were high."

"The person held the suspect down and said, 'You're under citizen's arrest.' The suspect kept saying that was his or her son, said it's my kid and they're like no," said Davis.

The incident highlights the city's homeless and mental health plight and San Franciso's image problem amongst tourists. Tourists from around the world are drawn to the Ferry Building for its specialty gourmet shops and location on the Bay.

"You don't want to think the worst of anyone you know, but when someone has mental problems and that could happen," said Davis. "That's the potential...that's not something we want, a child to be hurt because of that."

The Ferry Building is in the city's Embarcadero district along the waterfront and is a major draw for both tourists and residents of San Francisco.

Mayor Ed Lee, who is out of town, has been kept abreast of the situation and sent out an email statement, which read, "Through the mayor's upcoming budget we are putting forth a comprehensive plan focused on the mental health and well being of those who are vulnerable and struggling with behavioral health issues."

KTVU reporters Tara Moriarty, Alex Savidge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.