A child was safe Monday after a woman attempted to snatch the youngster from his mother at the San Francisco Ferry Building, according to police.
A mother and a 2-year-old boy were walking through the building around 9:30 a.m. when a woman approached and grabbed the child, according to police. A struggle between the mother and the woman ensued before nearby workers jumped in and held down the suspect until officers arrived.
The 33-year-old woman, who was not identified, was arrested on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, and authorities are investigating the incident. Police believe the suspect is homeless, mentally unbalanced and may have thought the young boy was her son.
Police were reviewing surveillance video of the ferry building’s main promenade.
"On the video it appears the subject had attempted and actually grabbed the child and that there was a bit of a struggle that ensued," Capt. Jack Hart said.
The mother and child quickly left the ferry building. The boy was not injured, police said.
There are an estimated 2,000 chronically homeless people living on the streets of San Francisco. Mental health professionals say slightly more than half of them have a mental illness.
Earlier this month, the nonprofit organization Tipping Point pledged $100 million over the next five years to treat the root causes of homelessness, including increased mental health services.