EMERYVILLE — A 7-year-old girl escaped a kidnapping attempt at Emeryville’s Powell Street Plaza by a man who had previously stated he was targeting children for sexual assault, according to police.
After the girl and her mother had left Starbucks Coffee around 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon, 20-year-old Gabriel Weathersbee allegedly walked up behind the girl, picked her up and carried her to the parking lot, police said.
The mother began yelling and Weathersbee dropped the child – but was then followed by a nearby security guard, who was able to point him out to responding officers.
“The guy in the black hoodie grabbed the little girl and started to run off,” the unidentified security guard told KPIX 5. “I came out of the store and saw him walking one way and the cops coming another way.”
Emeryville Police have had previous contact with Weathersbee, who has had at least one stint in a psychiatric ward.
“Previous to this he had made statements that he was going to sexually assault children,” said Sgt. Fred Dauer.
Dauer said Weathersbee is being charged with kidnapping because any distance traveled with a person against their will fits that crime.