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Woman poses as social worker to try to abduct 1-week-old baby, L.A. police say

A 38-year-old woman accused of trying to take a newborn baby by telling the mom she was a social worker turned herself in, police in Santa Ana, California, say. The mother refused to give up her child.
A 38-year-old woman accused of trying to take a newborn baby by telling the mom she was a social worker turned herself in, police in Santa Ana, California, say. The mother refused to give up her child. Screengrab from KCAL video

A new mom in Santa Ana, California, got a shock Friday morning when a woman claiming to be a social worker came to her door to take custody of her 1-week-old son, the Orange County Register reported.

“She didn’t have any ID, any picture with the name, with social service,” said the mom, who wished to remain anonymous, KCAL reported.

When the new mother resisted, the supposed social worker told her she’d be arrested, KABC reported.

“I told her if the sheriff comes and he has to arrest me, then he can arrest me,” the mom said, KTLA reported. “But I am not going to give you my child.”

The new mother finally offered to go with the woman, who then told her she only had room in her vehicle for the baby, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The woman finally left, but the new mom’s sister and mother caught her and her SUV on video in the 11:30 a.m. incident, according to the publication.

“We have social workers that work in our department,” said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department, KNBC reported. “We’ve contacted them; this is not how they operate. They carry identification.”

“I feel nervous, I feel angry, I feel scared,” the mom said, KCAL reported.

A 38-year-old woman turned herself in Friday night after the video aired on television, telling Santa Ana police it was all a “misunderstanding,” KTLA reported. Officers later arrested her on suspicion of attempted kidnapping.

Authorities are not releasing her name or photo while they investigate possibly related charges in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, the Orange County Register reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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