Suspect charged in attempted baby abduction in Chelsea

Rob Nelson reporting in Chelsea
April 19, 2014 9:17:02 PM PDT
A woman was arrested and charged Saturday in connection with the alleged attempt to kidnap a baby from a nanny in Chelsea Thursday.

Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping of a child.

McDonald was taken into custody around 6:30 p.m. Friday in Midtown Manhattan. Law enforcement sources said she underwent psychological evaluation at Bellevue Hospital.

According to authorities, she has 12 prior arrests related to trying to kidnap infants by claiming the baby was hers. McDonald served more than a year in prison for an attempted kidnapping in 1998. She was released in 2000.

On Thursday, just before 4 p.m. along Eighth Avenue near 17th Street, a 43-year-old nanny was pushing the boy in a stroller when a woman approached her and started acting as if the baby was hers.

The suspect said something to the nanny in a threatening manner and then grabbed for the stroller.

A struggle ensued, and with the help of a nearby UPS driver, the nanny held on to the stroller. The suspect eventually fled the scene, heading south on Eighth Avenue.

"She grabbed the stroller by the handle, and without no reason, starts saying 'Give me my baby,'" said William Marte. "I told the lady, 'leave her alone, get off, are you out of your mind?' The nanny called the baby's mother, she said 'thank you very much.' I told the mother, 'listen, I do what I'm supposed to do. I'm also a father, I got two kids and I know what it is."

Police posted flyers with McDonald's picture all over the neighborhood, and some recognized her from the pictures. Detectives also looked for surveillance video of the incident at stores along the avenue.