The mom of a three-year-old girl who was almost abducted by a homeless man in the Bronx Monday afternoon said she doesn’t want the suspect to go to prison and that he is ‘not mentally OK.’
The mom, who didn’t want to be identified, said in an interview with ABC7NY that she wanted the kidnapper, who was arrested and identified as Santiago Salcedo, 27, ‘to get help. I don’t want him to go to jail because he’s not mentally OK.’
The incident was captured in shocking video from the front of a BP gas station and shows three children walking with their grandma.
Salcedo crosses the road and walks towards the group. In an instant, he suddenly wraps the girl in a blanket and runs off with her much to the horror of the other kids.
The 65-year-old woman immediately chases him. ‘She saw him coming closer and she thought that he would want to ask for money, so that’s why she wasn’t fully aware of what can happen,’ the child’s mom told CBS News on Tuesday.
‘The kids are OK. Thank god they’re still too young to fully understand or grasp what happened.’
The three-year-old girl is OK because of brave good Samaritans, two men and two women.
Fermin Bracero, 63, who works at the BP was chased down the suspect. He told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that he was sweeping the sidewalk when he saw Salcedo wrap a blanket around the young girl and take off.
He thought it was a joke, but then realized it wasn’t a family prank and chased the suspect. Another man and two women who were pumping gas joined the pursuit.
A homeless man tried to abduct a little girl walking with her grandmother in the Bronx in broad daylight on Monday
The man wrapped the little girl in a comforter and snatched her from the sidewalk
Bracero told DailyMail.com that the suspect let the girl go, and didn’t say anything to the four. He simply walked away and went across the street.
‘He didn’t say nothing. He just stood there looking at us. He stood there for a while. I was still thinking, “Is this real?”‘ Bracero told DailyMail.com.
He said Salcedo finally took off on an electric scooter before it ‘quit on him’ and then he ran off. NYPD officers later found him asleep in a nearby doorway and arrested him.
Salcedo was charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was seen laughing and smiling as he was escorted out of the 45th Precinct in the Bronx and in the back of the police car
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office told DailyMail.com at 11am that Salcedo hadn’t been arraigned, but was expected to be later Tuesday.
After the three-year-old girl was saved, the Bracero turned his attention to the hysterical family.
There were three children – including the young girl – their grandma. Their mom and dad also arrived.
‘They were screaming and crying. I just told them there’s a bench in the gas station and to sit down. I gave the kids lollipops,’ Bracero said.
He described the neighborhood where he lives and works as close-knit and quiet. He felt uncomfortable being called a hero and said it was a collaborative effort.
Salcedo was charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child. He was seen laughing and smiling as he was escorted out of the 45th Precinct in the Bronx and in the back of the police car
Police caught Santiago Salcedo, 27, later in the day sleeping in the doorway of a nearby business and was seen grinning as he was charged on Monday night. He was charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and child endangerment
Fermin Bracero, 63, who works at the BP gas station was one of the heroes who chased down the suspect. After the girl was safe, he told DailyMail.co, ‘He didn’t say nothing. He just stood there looking at us. He stood there for awhile. I was still thinking, “Is this real?”‘
Bracero has noticed more homeless people in the area who come into the store at the gas station, but he said they’re not violent or erratic and haven’t done anything violent.
They beg or sell water bottles to drivers, but leave people alone. ‘It’s a quiet neighborhood. I’ve never experienced anything like that,’ he said. ‘You don’t expect to see anything like that. It’s something that only happens on TV.
‘I just thank God that we were all there, and the girl is OK.’
There are a few day cares within a couple-mile radius of the incident as well as a school. P.S. 14 at 3047 Bruckner Blvd. is less than a half a mile from the BP gas station, but it was closed on Monday for Columbus Day.
A school official told DailyMail.com that it’s believed to be a one-time incident and no extra security has been added.
The attempted abduction comes amid a surge in violent crime committed by homeless suspects in New York City. The number of single adults sleeping in municipal shelters has spiked by 103 percent in the past decade and has continued to soar since coronavirus pandemic.
A homeless man is pictured near Washington Square Park in Manhattan on Monday. The city’s vagrant population has doubled to 50,000 in a decade
The man was filmed wandering off in what appeared to be a pair of boxer shorts after his interaction with cops
In the past few years, NYC homelessness has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression in the 1930s, according to the New York Coalition for the Homeless. There were 47,979 homeless people, including 14,881 homeless children, sleeping each night in the NYC municipal shelter system in August 2021, according to the agency. In the same month, there were 18,357 single adults in shelters.
The coalition adds that thousands of homeless people sleep throughout the streets, subways and other public spaces throughout the Big Apple, but there is ‘no accurate measure’ of such data and city surveys ‘significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.’
Many have said that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempts to handle the ongoing mental health crisis have only exacerbated it.
A homeless man is pictured talking to cops while sat against a concrete barrier next to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan
New York City is seeing a surge in violent crime committed by homeless suspects with untreated mental health issues. Above, a homeless woman pushes a cart through Times Square
The Office of Community Mental Health, which was once known as first lady Chirlane McCray’s $1.25 billion ThriveNYC initiative, has yet to reinstate two in-person training programs, Mental Health First Aid and Crisis Intervention Training due to COVID-19 safety precautions even though city workers have been back in their offices for months, according to the New York Post.
The number of crime victims offered emotional support services also dropped from 49,000 in the 2020 fiscal year to 39,000 in 2021 fiscal year, the outlet reported.
And mental health service in high-needs schools saw a change of guard this year. They are now run by the Department of Education and the Department of Health instead of the Office of Community Mental Health.
There have been 16,899 felony assaults in NYC this year through October 3, with multiple terrifying examples carried out by homeless people, according to the the most recent data from the NYPD.
That is up seven percent from the 15,787 committed in the same time period the previous year. Felony assaults are up almost 16 percent in the past 28 days, with 1,949 incidents through October 3 compared to 1,685 in the same duration last year.
Robberies in the Big Apple are down just 0.4 percent with 9,647 through October 3 compared to 9,686 committed in the same period last year. Robberies are up nine percent in the past 28 days with 1,222 occurring in in 2021 as compared to 1,117 in 2020.
A woman is pictured chatting with a group of homeless men in Harlem on Monday
A homeless encampment is pictured on the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn on Monday
The homeless crisis in New York appears to increase as more people are left without a place to stay
A man on crutches sits on a Big Apple sidewalk, amid an explosion in the city’s homeless population
Transit crimes are down 13 percent this year through October 3, with 1,200 in 2021 and 1,384 in 2020. However, such crimes have soared in the past 28 days and are up about 66 percent with 169 in 2021 as opposed to 102 for the same period in 2020.
Recent anecdotal evidence has shown instances of homeless attackers carrying out muggings, assaults and attacking people on the city’s subway system.
One of the main causes of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. Surveys of families experiencing homelessness found that immediate triggers were eviction, domestic violence, job loss or hazardous housing conditions, cited the Coalition of the Homeless.
In addition, the coalition states, homeless single adults have much higher rates of mental illness, addiction disorders and other health issues.
Among the latest victims of homeless attackers are a 16-year-old girl who was choked from behind by a homeless woman while eating sushi in Queens and a cancer nurse who was killed when a homeless man slammed her headfirst into the pavement while fleeing a robbery.
A woman police identified as Minerva Martinez, 36, is seen in surveillance footage marching up behind the unnamed 16-year-old girl as she ate outside Watawa Sushi in Astoria on October 4. She wraps her arm around her neck for a few seconds before releasing, but does not leave the scene, standing over and appearing to threaten the girl.
Four days later, a mugger police say is Jermaine Foster, 26, was fleeing a robbery when he barreled into Maria Ambrocio in Times Square, knocking her to the ground. Yesterday, Foster’s charges were upgraded from felony assault to murder after Ambrocio’s family agreed to switch off her life support.
A homeless person appears to have created a makeshift shelter using two umbrellas and garbage cans
A homeless person sleeps in front of ABC studios in Times Square as people watch the taping of the show through the window in Manhattan
Jermaine Foster (pictured) was arraigned on murder charges Sunday in Manhattan for the death of a New Jersey nurse who he allegedly slammed headfirst into the pavement while fleeing a robbery
The 26-year-old was arraigned Sunday for the death of Maria Ambrocio, 58. Foster was fleeing the scene of a crime in October 2021 when he ran into her, knocking her over in Times Square
Maria Ambrocio, 58, was walking through Times Square Friday afternoon when she was bowled over by Foster
A 16-year-old girl was strangled from behind by a homeless woman while eating sushi in Queens on October 4, as seen in a security photo above
The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Minerva Martinez, a homeless woman with a lengthy rap sheet – which includes six felony assaults – was arrested Saturday in connection with the incident and is currently incarcerated and charged with strangulation
Foster had been freed on a groping charge just one month before he caused the death of Ambrocio, a 58-year-old oncology nurse from Bayonne in New Jersey.
‘He’s never gotten into trouble of this sort. I feel so bad for them… I know, it’s so heartbreaking,’ Orette Montague, Foster’s stepdad, told CBS2.
Of the robbery, Mantague said, ‘Stealing a phone? That’s impossible. He has his phone. He’s not that type of guy. Since he was a religious man.’
Foster does not have a history of violence but was on medication for a mental illness, his mother – who declined to be identified – told the New York Post, adding that she doesn’t know his diagnosis or what medication he was prescribed.
His mother said he had been living with his father in Brooklyn but was left alone when his dad died from COVID. She added, ‘He was on his medication and he drove here to New Jersey. He was here and he didn’t want his shot to run out so he went back to New York … He’s not a violent person. He’s not a thief. If someone said he was begging you for something, then yes. He would be begging.’
Montague said that he must have not been on his medication anymore to behave in such a way, adding, ‘Any time he’s not on his medication he doesn’t think right. When his dad died from COVID-19, he was left alone.’
In another seemingly random act of violence, Anthonia Egegbara, 29, who has seven prior arrests, was charged with attempted murder over shocking footage of her appearing to shove an innocent commuter into the side of an oncoming NYC subway train.
Lenny Javier, 42, of New Jersey, suffered a broken nose and chin after she was pushed towards the tracks, striking the side of the moving train at the Times Square subway station.
Horrifying surveillance video shows the moment when Anthonia Egegbara allegedly pushed a fellow commuter into a train at the Times Square subway station on Monday morning
Police arrested Egegbara on October 5 after footage showed her allegedly shove a bystander into the side of the moving train the day before
New York City police have charged Aaron Garcia, 37, of Yonkers with attempted murder and assault after he slashed a stranger with a hatchet in an unprovoked attack
Miguel Solorzano, 50, was getting money out of the ATM at a Chase Bank in the Financial District on August 15, when Garcia slashed him with a hatchet three times in the head and once in the leg
The Office of Community Mental Health, which was once known as the $1.25 billion ThriveNYC initiative spearheaded by first lady Chirlane McCray (second from right), has yet to reinstate mental health programs due to COVID-19 safety precautions. McCray is above with Mayor Bill de Blasio (center) and the couple’s son Dante (right) when the family met the Sussexes Harry and Megan (second-from-left)
The Big Apple has found itself rocked by a wave of violent crime over the past year, fueling fears it is returning to the dark days of the ’70s and ’80s when murders were rife and the city earned the unsettling nickname Fear City
In 2021, nearly every type of violent crime has seen a stark increase in the city of New York
And in another horrific attack in August, a New Yorker was ambushed by a hatchet-wielding stranger as he used an ATM inside a Manhattan bank, with the gruesome assault leaving the sidewalk sprayed with blood.
According to authorities, Miguel Solorzano, 50, was getting money out of the ATM at a Chase Bank in the Financial District on August 15, when the male suspect slashed him with a hatchet three times in the head and once in the leg, according to the New York Daily News.
New York City police have charged Aaron Garcia, 37, of Yonkers with attempted murder and assault, but his lawyers have since claimed he is not fit to stand trial.
A close relative, who asked not to be named, said Garcia had previously served in the Army, and was not the same after his return from deployment to Iraq, the New York Daily News reported.
‘He was a little off-center. He was in combat. All he would say is ‘I saw dead bodies,’ ‘ the relative told the outlet.
Following the attack on Ambrocio, New York City mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa called for more mental health resources to prevent future unprovoked crimes.
He said at a press conference Sunday, ‘Why do we have emotionally disturbed persons roaming the streets, the subways, the parks? We cannot blame these men and women for their transgressions. We know that they have psychotic disorders. We know that they need mental health care.’
Thousands of homeless people sleep throughout the streets, subways and other public spaces throughout the Big Apple
The New York Coalition for the Homeless says there is ‘no accurate measure’ of such data, however, and city surveys ‘significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers’
A homeless person is seen hiding from the public at 40th and Broadway around Times Square
A homeless man appears to sleep on a bench in Manhattan, as crime continues to spike in NYC
In the past few years, NYC homelessness has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s
A homeless man is seen walking through Times Square
Homeless person is seen supporting himself against a wall on 43rd street around Times Square in Manhattan
A homeless person slept on 42nd street in Times Square Manhattan, one of an estimated 50,000 unhoused people living in NYC
Last month, the MTA said its subway stations, a hot spot for vagrancy, saw a 45 percent spike in homeless people. Eight stations — all but one in Manhattan — were being used as homes by an average of 14.7 people in August, up from 10.2 homeless people in May, MTA chief safety officer Patrick Warren said.
Incident reports from May reveal how out of control the situation has become as there 132 cases of subway cars being destroyed by trash and bodily fluids. This includes 27 reports of trains covered in feces, 26 trains covered in vomit, 21 drenched in urine and six cars stained with blood, according to MTA records.
City Councilman Stephen Levin, a Democrat from Brooklyn and chairman of the city’s General Welfare Committee, said at the time that the MTA’s findings confirm ‘the need for better and more accessible resources for people living on the street.’
He said, ‘There are common-sense solutions: We should be investing in more Safe Haven and Stabilization beds, increasing access to mobile mental health, health and addiction services and focusing on rapid rehousing.’
Alternatively, Caitlin LaCroix, a co-founder of the nonprofit RxHOME advocacy group, told the New York Post that the issue should be approached from an affordable housing perspective. She said, ‘The lack of effective outreach that connects people directly to permanent homes and a failure to hold our elected leaders accountable for providing housing has exacerbated New York City’s homelessness crisis in the wake of the pandemic.’
She added, ‘The city needs to fully embrace using a housing-first strategy, which would move people out of subways and shelters and into permanent homes.’