October 5, 2016 11:02 pm
Updated: October 6, 2016 3:53 am

Attempted baby snatching at Richmond mall leaves mother shaken

WATCH: A mother was shopping at Richmond Centre on Tuesday when a stranger tried to snatch her toddler out of her arms. Police say the accused suffers from mental health issues. But as Ted Chernecki reports, the victim is calling for better resources before someone gets hurt.

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A Metro Vancouver mother says a woman tried to snatch her toddler out of her arms at a Richmond mall on Tuesday.

Police said the accused has mental health issues and the mother is calling for better mental health resources before someone gets hurt.

“I’m going to have nightmares for the rest of my life about what could have potentially happened,” mother Brittany Lands said.

The day after the event, Lands is still shaken up after a woman repeatedly tried to snatch her child from her arms.

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“She tried to take my son out of my arms,” she said. “He was held on my hip…wrapped around me. She tried to struggle and pull him out of my arms. I grabbed him away and ran back through the entrance of the mall. I ran screaming through the mall. I was screaming for help, just for anyone to help me. There were so many people around, so many people running by customer service and I ran into this Swarovski jewelry store where I thought there would be more security.”

“My sister was screaming terrified, please help us, extremely loud, like it was a huge commotion and nobody was helping,” sister Vendella said. “When she was lunging, I put myself between my sister and my nephew. That was the only option that I did have. Security was observing from outside of the store.”

They said at least a half-dozen mall security staff stood and watched after calling the RCMP.

“People are just not willing to help these days because they’re getting too used to seeing this activity go on. I know that if I let go of my son in that parking lot, I would’ve never seen him again.”

In a written statement, Richmond Centre Mall said it takes all alleged assaults very seriously.

The sisters posted two photos of the suspect on Facebook and hundreds of people have commented saying the suspect is known to police. The RCMP also confirmed the suspect has serious mental health issues.

Lands hopes more is done to help people with mental health issues.

“What’s it going to take for Vancouver to wake up and realize that we need less bike lanes, we need more facilities for these people,” she said.

– With files from Ted Chernecki

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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