A 19-year-old woman was arrested after allegedly stealing a three-day-old infant after she bought $16 scrubs across the street from a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hospital then posted as a nurse took the child from his mother’s arms as she sat in her hospital room.
Breona Moore smiled broadly for TV cameras and blamed her mother, father and boyfriend for the alleged kidnapping as she was led away in handcuffs on Thursday afternoon.
The disappearance of Bryce Coleman for five hours Thursday set off a frantic search by police and the staff at Magee-Womens Hospital. He was found safe when police discovered Moore hiding in a stair well in an office building near the hospital.
Authorities say Moore walked into a uniform shop across the street from the hospital Thursday morning and purchased a black nurse scrub top with the hospital’s logo on it.
The top was priced at $17.99, but she claimed she worked at the hospital and received a 10 percent discount. Her final price for the nurse’s uniform — $16.19, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Now disguised as a nurse, Moore walked into the hospital and wandered, before finding Rhonda King, 27, in her hospital room with Bryce.
‘She said she was taking the baby to get a checkup, that she would bring the baby right back,’ Thelma Broughton, Bryce’s grandmother, told the Post-Gazette.
Ms King willingly handed over the infant, believing Moore was a nurse. ‘But she never came back,’ Ms Broughton said.
Bryce is Ms King’s fifth child.
Authorities said Moore walked around the hospital with the child for 15 to 30 minutes before cutting off the infant’s radio monitor tag and walking out the door with him.
When Bryce was not returned to Ms King, she called hospital staff, who realize the infant had been taken.
Police found the child after Moore’s family called detectives and said they feared she may have taken the child. Moore’s parents said she claimed that she was pregnant and became enraged when no one believed her.
Police believe she might have stolen the child to prove to them that she was pregnant.
She hinted at this as she leered at cameras and said: ‘It’s a lot when you lose a child’ and added ‘it wasn’t just me. Mom, it’s all your fault … and, Dad, yours too,’ she told reported as she grinned.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Moore, who was arraigned by video from the Allegheny County Jail on charges she kidnapped little Bryce Coleman on Thursday. She remained jailed unable to post $250,000 bond and was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation by a city court judge.
Police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said Moore quickly became a suspect after the baby’s kidnapping early Thursday afternoon. That’s because Moore’s family contacted police after hearing media reports to say Moore had told them and made Facebook posts that she was pregnant.
Moore’s build apparently made her claims at least somewhat credible, as a criminal complaint lists her at 5-foot-4 and 230 pounds, but Stangrecki said her family doubted the claims enough to call police as soon as they heard of the kidnapping.
According to a criminal complaint, Moore told police after her arrest that ‘she had convinced people that she was pregnant and told people she had just had a baby.’ Moore had claimed to have a C-section on Monday and that the baby would be released on Thursday because he was sick and needed additional care.
Moore had posted the message, ‘Ooh My I Just Wanna Give Him So Much Love’ on Facebook after previously posting pictures of herself, supposedly pregnant, as well as ultrasound images in recent months.
UPMC officials said in a statement that they’re cooperating with police and ‘will be reviewing this event to see what improvements could be made in our security procedures.’
Moore, wearing hospital scrubs she bought from a store nearby, entered the hospital Thursday and was seen loitering by one employee who noticed she didn’t have an identification badge and asked Moore whether she was coming on duty or just leaving. Moore told that employee she was getting off duty, the police complaint said.