When we go out shopping, we’re used to just minding our own business and not paying too much attention to the other shoppers.
But recently, customers at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Salem, Oregon, noticed another woman’s unusual behavior—and when they suddenly realized what was happening, they were forced to suddenly react to a dangerous situation.
The unnamed woman was walking around the sporting goods store, accompanied by a man and child. They may have simply passed for a family—but customers noticed something off about the woman’s behavior.
She seemed to be mouthing something to the strangers throughout the store.
But a few customers picked up on what was really happening—and called 911 immediately when they made out what she was saying:
While the woman wasn’t panicking or seemingly in immediate danger, they sense that she was trying to discreetly signal for them to get help.
And with several calls coming in from the store alerting them, the police arrived immediately.
When the police arrived, the truth was revealed—and everyone realized how much danger the woman was really in.
Police arrested a 25-year-old man named Christopher Hahn-Collins who, two days before being discovered at Dick’s, had broken into the woman’s apartment and held her and her son hostage.
Hahn-Collins was a complete stranger to them. He held the mother and child at knife-point overnight.
“For all intents and purposes, these two don’t know each other,” Marion County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Chris Baldridge explained to KOIN.
“He ends up in her home and keeps her captive for 24 hours.”
All the while, the mother did her best to stay calm—waiting for the right opportunity to be rescued.
On her second day of being held hostage, that chance finally came: she somehow convinced her abductor to take them to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and he agreed.
Little did he know she would launch a plot that would put him behind bars.
Police praised the woman’s level-headed bravery in the face of serious danger:
“We have to commend her because how brave is that?” Baldridge told KGW. “She did a great job of keeping this man calm and getting herself in a position where she could get help.”
“It resulted in her being able to get away and her being able to summon help,” he added to KOIN.
He also praised the actions of the Dick’s customers, who did the right thing by reporting the suspicious behavior to the police without drawing attention to it themselves.
Luckily, the woman and her child made it through the ordeal without any injuries, although she is recovering from the emotional trauma. Hahn-Collins is behind bars, awaiting his next court appointment—all thanks to the quick-thinking of his victim and some considerate strangers.