Queens woman arrested in baby swiping scheme

January 5, 2011 2:42:10 PM PST
An aspiring actress from Queens is under arrest and charged in a bizarre baby abduction case in Toronto.

Canadian police say she set up fake movie casting calls for babies and then snatched one.

She grew up on 187th Street in Hollis, Queens.

For her whole life, 24-year-old Michelle Gopaul attended Catholic school.

She then decided to pursue a dream to become an actress and a model.

But now, Gopaul is behind bars in Canada.

She is accused in a bizarre scheme, where cops say, she pretended to be a casting director in a building, and then snatched a newborn.

"The suspect and the baby left. The parents became extremely concerned and contacted police," said a Canadian police officer.

Gopaul had recently moved to Toronto.

She allegedly placed ads on Craigslist offering $15,000 for a newborn baby to star in a Bollywood-type film.

But, the aspiring star was allegedly pretending to be pregnant.

She even had a registry at Babies R Us, where she wrote, "It's a girl, can't wait until my little princess Valentina arrives!"

Gopaul registered for 33 different items, none of which were purchased in Toronto.

These parents, who wished to remain anonymous, told a Canadian TV reporter how they responded to one of Gopaul's ads, but became suspicious right away.

"She consistently asked me to take her out of the car seat, she consistently asked me to try to feed her, though I said, 'No, I'm not taking her out, I'm not letting you hold her," the anonymous mother said.

Canadian police say Gopaul ended up snatching 1-month-old Roma Patel after her parents let Gopaul take her to another room.

Gopaul allegedly whisked the child away in a taxi cab, but the baby was found several hours later unharmed.

Gopaul's mother told reporters she supports her daughter.

Others who live near her family in Hollis remain shocked at the bizarre turn of events.

"I hope she gets the help that she needs. If it's true, I hope she gets the help that she needs," said Sheryl Lynch, the suspect's neighbor.

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