Southern California

“Act of Generosity Misunderstood”: Covina Toddler-Buying Mishap Was “Misunderstanding”

After police released surveillance images, the man from the supermarket came to the station to say it was an act of kindness gone wrong.

An act of generosity by a man who said he "wants to bless others" was mistaken for attempted child trafficking after a "misunderstanding" in a Southern California supermarket, police said Friday.

A woman told police that a man was complimenting her son at the cash register inside Baja Ranch Market in Covina on Wednesday. She said the man was very persistent with his comments.

When she and the boy went to their car in the parking lot, the man from the store was with another man parked next to them. She said the men offered her $100 to purchase her son.

After police released surveillance images of the men hoping the public would recognize them, they went to the police station to say it was an act of kindness gone wrong.

The man from the supermarket is actually a business owner who went grocery shopping with his business partner to buy items to celebrate their successful year, Covina Police Sgt. Gregg Peterson told NBC4 on Friday.

While in line, the business owner said the woman's son resembled his own son at that age and was complimenting the boy, Peterson said.

Then, when he went to the parking lot and realized his car was parked next to the mother’s, he "saw it as a blessing from God and thought he would give them some money," Peterson said.

He gave her the money saying, "This is for your son," Peterson said.

The woman refused, and he asked her to please take the money. She rejected him again, so he dropped the money in her cart and left.

Police told the woman about what he said, and she said she can understand how she misinterpreted the situation.

She was nervous because it seemed strange that he was complimenting her son so much, and she was unsure of his intentions. Now, she feels relieved, Peterson said.

"We all feel relieved," Peterson said. "This is the best possible ending because we don’t have anybody out there trying to purchase kids in our city."

The $100 is with police as evidence, but the man wants the woman to have it. If the woman wants it, she can have it.

The man told police that he "feels he has been blessed in his life and he wants to bless others."

Peterson said officers confirmed the man's story and that no crime occurred. Police could not release the man's name or the business he owns.

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