Attempted kidnapping of 4-year-old in Staten Island rattles neighbors

MIDLAND BEACH, Staten Island — The NYPD on Monday is investigating an attempted abduction after they say a man tried to grab a child from a stroller in Staten Island.

It happened at around 5:20 p.m. Saturday on Mapleton Avenue near Olympia Boulevard, authorities said.

A mother was walking with her 4-year-old daughter inside of a stroller when a man allegedly pulled up in a Black Toyota Prius with Georgia license plates.

The driver exited the vehicle, approached the two victims and shoved the mother to the ground, police said.

He then grabbed the child by the leg but, according to authorities, the mother quickly fought back. She screamed and hung on to her daughter by the girl's torso, causing the man to flee on Hyland Boulevard, police said.

Investigators are probing whether the mother and the attempted kidnapper are related or know each other.

The mother and child were shaken, but no injuries were reported.

No arrests have been made. Police said they have the car's license plate number but are still looking for the man who tried to take the little girl.

Parents and grandparents in the neighborhood were rattled by the incident.

"There's a lot of kids in this area and I'm always walking to the parks and everything with my grandchildren," said Linda McNicholas, who babysits her young grandchildren at her son's house steps away from where the attempted kidnapping happening. "So I am a nervous wreck over this."

She said the attack also scared her son.

"He was flipping out on the phone with me. 'What happened? What happened?' he says. 'Please make sure you always have the kids next to you,' and I do," McNicholas said.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).