Startling rise in kidnapping cases at Walmart and other stores after man arrested for asking to buy girl for $100,000

BUYERS across the country are concerned after a spike in kidnappings emerged in the US at several retailers including Walmart and Target, including a man who allegedly tried to buy a baby girl for $100,000.

A Florida man was arrested last month after allegedly trying to buy an eight-year-old girl at a Winn Dixie store, police said.

Hellmuth Kolb was arrested after allegedly trying to buy a woman's daughter for $100,000

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Hellmuth Kolb was arrested after allegedly trying to buy a woman’s daughter for $100,000Photo credit: Facebook/Port Orange Police Department
Lauren Benning said Kolb approached her in a Winn-Dixie and kept asking her about her baby daughter

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Lauren Benning said Kolb approached her in a Winn-Dixie and kept asking her about her baby daughterPhoto credit: WESH
Jessica Vega, 35, allegedly tried to kidnap a woman's infant at a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas

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Jessica Vega, 35, allegedly tried to kidnap a woman’s infant at a Walmart in San Antonio, TexasPhoto credit: Bexar County

Hellmuth Kolb approached Lauren Benning and began inquiring about her daughter, WESH reported.

“He just came up and started making comments about how pretty she was and how well she danced and how he could never have kids and he wanted kids,” Benning said.

The mother chatted with the man for a few comments before exiting the store, but Kolb, a registered sex offender, went through a different exit and reapproached Benning in the parking lot.

Benning claims the man “followed me in the parking lot and said, ‘Hey, I want to make a deal with you. I’d like to buy them for $100,000,'” she said.

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“I was totally shocked,” she added.”

Kolb was on probation when he approached the mother on charges related to a similar attempt to buy a child for $200,000 in 2018.

He was arrested on August 25 for violating his parole terms and is currently being held without bail, according to court documents.

Kolb reportedly told authorities, “We all like children,” when interrogated.

“He needs to be locked up and not allowed to come near our children,” Benning said.

The woman’s daughter was not injured in the incident, but Benning said she was shaken by the bizarre encounter.

WALMART FEAR

Police arrested Jessica Vega, 35, in San Antonio, Texas after she allegedly tried to take the shopping cart of a mother who had her child at a Walmart.

The mother went shopping with her two daughters, one of whom is four years old.

Police say Vega allegedly grabbed the woman’s car and began pushing it away while the toddler was still inside.

The mother’s other daughter was holding the car when Vega allegedly grabbed it from her hands.

Newsweek reported that the mother yelled at Vega, who didn’t respond at first but later allegedly told her, “Just because she’s yours doesn’t mean I can’t take her,” before leaving the store.

A Walmart employee intervened and allowed the mother to take her daughter out of the shopping cart.

A loss prevention officer at the retailer told police she recognized Vega from another incident at another Walmart.

KIDNAPPED OFF TARGET

Jasmine Contreras, 29, was reportedly kidnapped in broad daylight outside a Target store after witnesses said she was offered a ride in an older car and attempts to escape failed.

The alleged kidnapping occurred July 8 in Lancaster, about 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, California.

Lancaster Sheriff’s Station listed Contreras as a “critically missing person”, according to KABC.

She was last seen being driven away in a burgundy 1950 Mercury, reportedly with chrome wheels and a missing hood, according to the outlet.

Investigators told KABC a witness reported that two women were offered a ride just before 9 a.m. Thursday outside the store at West 10th Street and K Avenue.

A woman, described as a 34-year-old Latina, escaped, according to police.

Authorities say Contreras tried to get out of the car but the driver didn’t allow her to do so.

Police said the suspect was described as a white male in his 60s.

Detectives say Contreras is 5ft 4in, weighs 120lbs and was last seen in a white tank top and black pants.

PARENT WARNING

A mother and her one-year-old child were abducted by two men on August 31 in Target, Memphis, Tennessee.

A gunman got out of a car and demanded the woman give him cash, WREG reported.

Police revealed that mother, who had no money on her, told the man to take her wallet and cards.

According to the police, she gave the man the PIN belonging to one of her cards.

The mother was asked to get into the car and the man allegedly grabbed the toddler from the shopping cart.

Police revealed they were driven to a local bank less than three minutes from the Target store.

Around $800 worth of cash was withdrawn from the ATM.

The woman and her child were then driven back to the Target parking lot and released, but the suspects kept their wallets.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, kidnapping attempts usually take place on the street while children walk, ride bikes, or play outside.

Usually, school-age children are kidnapped before or after school when children are traveling to and from their homes.

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In 2021, NCMEC prosecuted 395 attempted kidnappings involving 499 children.

The US Sun has reached out to Target, Walmart and Winn-Dixie for comment.

Jessica Contreras, 29, was abducted outside of a target in Lancaster, California in July

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Jessica Contreras, 29, was abducted outside of a target in Lancaster, California in JulyPhoto credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Two men reportedly kidnapped a woman and her one-year-old daughter in broad daylight at a Target in Memphis

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Two men reportedly kidnapped a woman and her one-year-old daughter in broad daylight at a Target in MemphisPhoto credit: Memphis Police Department
The woman and child were released, but the suspects were not caught

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The woman and child were released, but the suspects were not caughtPhoto credit: Memphis Police Department

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6171193/kidnapping-spike-target-walmart-winn-dixie-crime/ Startling rise in kidnapping cases at Walmart and other stores after man arrested for asking to buy girl for $100,000

DevanCole

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