PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Police said a woman tried to kidnap three children, including a baby right from her mother's arms.
It happened near Capitol Elementary School at 19th Avenue and Van Buren around 8:30 Tuesday morning. Investigators said when two moms were walking their kids to school, a woman came up to them and tried to grab an 8-month-old baby girl. That's when officers said the second mom tried to help, pulling the woman away.
The woman then tried to grab an 8-year-old boy and another 2-year-old, according to police.
"It is very surprising," said Robert Martin, who lives across from the school. "I do live around a ton of kids, so it is kind of surprising this happened obviously across the street from the school."
Police said the moms kept confronting the woman, who ran off. Officers found her not far from where this happened and arrested her. Officers said her name is Desiree Ortiz, and they booked her on attempted kidnapping charges.
No kids were hurt. A parent who has a child at the school said she worries this could happen to her own kids.
The district sent Arizona's Family this statement:
"Thank you for reaching out to the district. We were not aware of the arrest or the extent of the situation.
We are aware of and concerned about increased homelessness at the school, and our principal is in contact with the police department almost daily.
The school also communicates with our community about safety and the concerns that arise due to increased numbers of homeless people on the street near the campus. Both the principal and the police work hard to keep the people off the sidewalks adjacent to and surrounding the school.
We believe this arrest to be associated with increased homelessness as the woman arrested was conversing among the homeless that morning. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing issue, and we will continue to communicate with our community regarding campus safety.
We have been awarded a Safety Resource Officer (SRO), and are anxiously awaiting the details from Arizona Department of Education to find out when the officer will be in place. The district is also researching hiring private security to ensure the safety of our students, families and staff."