Several bystanders helped a mother to fend off a would-be kidnapper Friday afternoon in a bizarre Castro neighborhood incident that did not, as some might immediately suspect, involve one of the neighborhood's homeless people.
The incident occurred in broad daylight outside Orphan Andy's diner and Twin Peaks Tavern, beside Jane Warner Plaza at 17th and Castro Streets. As the Examiner reports, witnesses describe seeing a 32-year-old mother screaming for help and trying to grab a 2-year-old child back from a man trying to snatch the boy. This all occurred around 12:30 p.m.
According to the Examiner, it was the intervention of bystanders that caused the kidnapping suspect to drop the child half a block away and try fleeing down 17th Street. Several people chased the man and cornered him until police arrived.
As an SFPD spokesperson tells Hoodline, it was the mother who successfully freed the boy from the kidnapper's grasp — though other witnesses say she was also carrying an infant at the time.
Per Hoodline, the entire incident was caught on surveillance cameras at Orphan Andy's, and the toddler was reportedly walking behind his mother at the time of the attempted kidnapping, with the mother pushing a stroller, presumably with the infant in it.
Witnesses describe the suspect as "clean cut" and wearing khakis, a leather jacket, and a backpack. The SFPD has not released the suspect's name or booking photo, but have said he is a 34-year-old man.
Orphan Andy's owner Bill Pung tells Hoodline, "The suspect was someone you would never give a second look to."
Update: KTVU reports via the SFPD that the suspect is an Australian man, Roscoe Bradley Holyoake of East Victoria Park. Holyoake remains in SFPD custody on $500,000 bail.
His mugshot is below.