Calif. woman tries to steal newborn in tote bag

Associated Press

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — A woman disguised in scrubs was caught trying to steal a newborn girl from a Southern California hospital in a tote bag after sensors attached to the baby alerted employees, Garden Grove police said.

Grisel Ramirez, 48, was arrested Monday at Garden Grove Medical Center after a hospital staffer stopped her from leaving with the baby, Lt. Jeff Nightengale said during a news conference.

"At this point we don't have a solid reason why she stole the baby," Nightengale said.

Ramirez is accused of posing as a nurse who came into the room of the baby's mother and told her to take a shower before a doctor came to examine her, Nightengale said.

Once the baby's mother was out of the room, Ramirez allegedly put the newborn in a purple tie-dyed tote bag and tried to carry her out of the ward.

"An alarm went off when the baby crossed an imaginary line" in the hospital that set off a sensor, Nightengale said.

Many hospital wards have security systems where patients, such as newborns or those with Alzheimer's disease, are tagged with an electronic sensor — usually in a bracelet or anklet — that sets off an alarm when the patient leaves a certain perimeter.

Authorities would not say what kind of system the Garden Grove hospital uses.

Nightengale added that the baby was only in the bag for a short period of time. The baby wasn't harmed and is back in the care of her mother

Nightengale credits an alert employee and hospital policies for stopping Ramirez and saving the baby.

"The hospital staff reacted as they should," said Nightengale.

Authorities are working with other law enforcement agencies to figure out whether Ramirez has made a similar attempt in the past, Nightengale said.

Nightengale said Ramirez has no history of mental illness.

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