A Portland man mistakenly took someone else’s shopping cart at the Hannaford supermarket on Friday and did not notice that a sleeping baby was inside.
The father of the child called police at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, to report that someone had taken his cart from the produce aisle along with his 2-month-old child inside, Bangor Daily News reported.
Staff initiated a “Code Adam” alert and placed the supermarket on a lockdown while police rushed to the scene, WCSH6 reported. Upon arrival, officers looked for a man in his 30’s wearing a yellow shirt and a white hat.
Police eventually found the baby still inside the shopping cart in the bread aisle. The child slept through the entire scare strapped into a car seat.
Footage from surveillance cameras shows the man leaving his own cart and accidentally taking the one with the child.
The man only realized that he had the wrong cart when he got to the bread aisle on the far side of the store.
He left the baby in aisle 19 amidst shelves piled with bread. He then rushed to the produce aisle to find his cart but did not tell store employees about the mix-up since he panicked, police say.
The district attorney did not find any criminality in the event and the man was not charged.
“We are pleased that we have been able to determine exactly what happened in this instance,” Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck told 10NEWS. “It is a very frightening event for all parents and raised safety concerns in our community … as disturbing as this incident was, it was not an attempt to abduct a child.”
Police also praised the actions of the Hannaford store employees, saying their actions led to the happy ending for the father and child.
“Code Adam” is a supermarket child safety alert originally created by Walmart in 1994.
The alert was named after 6-year-old Adam Walsh who was abducted in a Sears supermarket in Florida in 1981. Adam’s mother, grandmother, and store employees searched for him while a storewide announcement was made every 10-15 minutes.
After 90 minutes Adam was still not found. After 14 days his severed head was discovered. His body was never recovered.