A report of an attempted kidnapping in Rossmoor appears to be a misunderstanding, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Officials found “no evidence” of an attempted kidnapping after investigating a report of a man trying to take a woman’s 4-month-old grandchild in Rossmoor on Friday night, authorities said.
“We’re certainly looking into it, but it appears no crime occurred,” said Jim Amormino, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.
A significant amount of confusion surrounds the incident, but it now appears the grandmother panicked and may have misinterpreted the situation, officials said.
The case began Friday, when the Sheriff’s Department received a call from the child's mother, who said a man tried to steal the baby from its grandmother shortly after 6 p.m. near the 12100 block of Silver Fox Road. She described the suspect as a heavy-set man in his 30s, about 6-foot-3 with pimples on his face and bushy hair.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the mother originally said the man was dressed as a policeman but later described him as dressed in a dark bomber jacket and jeans.
“There were numerous conflicting statements by the reporting party,” Amormino said.
The caller also said the man accused her grandmother of stealing the baby.
After investigators spoke with the grandmother, they found “no evidence” of a crime or of a man impersonating a police officer, Amormino said.
What most likely happened was the man was walking through the neighborhood "initiated some kind of greeting" like a wave or a touch to the child's head, which the grandmother misinterpreted as a kidnapping attempt, Amormino said.
"She panicked," Amormino said.
How could someone misinterpret a wave as a kidnapping attempt?
“That is a good question. I wish I knew," Amormino said. “All it is is a misinterpretation. ... She overreacted."
Amormino said events described in an initial crime call often differ from what officers find at the scene.