Police are lauding a Target store employee whose gut instinct led to the capture of a kidnapping suspect in Antioch and the swift return of his young victim to her family.
Around 6:45 p.m. last Friday, 43-year-old Antioch resident David Allen Douglas abducted a 7-year-old girl from in front of her home in the 3800 block of Hummingbird Drive, according to police. Police say Douglas had followed the girl and her mother home from a nearby Walmart and kidnapped the girl just after she returned home.
Several hours prior, Douglas visited the Target at 4301 Century Blvd. in Pittsburg, where he caught the eye of loss prevention agent Roxanna Ramirez, Antioch police Lt. Tammany Brooks said.
Ramirez was monitoring the store’s security camera system when she noticed a man acting strangely. While he never committed any crimes in the store, “his behavior was such that she felt it was odd and continued to watch him,” Brooks said. “She just felt something wasn’t right with him,” he said.
After Douglas exited the store, Ramirez noticed that he remained in his car for a long period of time, giving her a chance to capture his license plate.
When she left work hours later, the employee heard from a friend about the Antioch kidnapping and subsequent Amber Alert and realized that the descriptions of the suspect and his car were highly similar to the suspicious man she had seen at her store.
Brooks said Ramirez called police and gave them the suspicious man’s license plate number, which led officers to trace the car to Douglas, whom they learned frequents the Antioch Marina.
Police quickly dispatched officers to the marina, where they located Douglas with the girl inside his parked car. The 7-year-old had no apparent injuries and was quickly reunited with her family, according to police. Douglas was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and taken to county jail in Martinez, where he is being held on $4 million bail.
Brooks said police are investigating the possibility that Douglas attempted a separate kidnapping in Antioch prior to last Friday’s abduction. Detectives believe Douglas did not know his victim or her family and that she was randomly targeted, the lieutenant said. Police are expected to present the case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.
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