Johannesburg: A 24-year-old man appeared in court on Friday for allegedly injuring a child he is believed to have tried to snatch as she sat with her mother at a restaurant.
The incident happened around 5pm at the Pizza Shop in Florida, west Johannesburg.
According to Gauteng Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Kay Makhubele, the child’s mother told police that she was with her 4-year-old daughter when the suspect appeared from nowhere and went for her child.
“She said an unknown male came and grabbed the child by her neck as if he wanted to take her.
“The mother screamed and the child also screamed. With the help of the shop owner and the community the suspect was apprehended.
Makhubele said the man appeared at the Roodepoort Magistrate Court where he faces a charge of assault.
Asked why the man had not been charged with attempted kidnapping, Makhubele said: “At this point we charged him with assault because he grabbed the child, they fell on the ground and she was injured.
“Other investigations will reveal if what happened is related to a kidnapping.”
In the video that captured the incident and which IOL has seen, the child is sitting with two women in the outdoor section of the restaurant.
The suspect, who approaches running, jumps over the barrier wall of the restaurant and goes straight for the child. He grabs her neck and pulls her towards him.
One of the two women tries to reach for the child and lands on the table.
A man who saw the suspect jump over the barrier wall, runs towards the suspect and grabs him as the child is caught in the middle.
The suspect manages to let go of the child but keeps tying to free himself but more people arrive and subdue him and he is apprehended.
In other videos taken after he was apprehended, the suspect is seen lying in the ground, hands cuffed behind his back while blood trickles off his face.
He starts praying in Arabic and at some point starts screaming