Covina police on Thursday were investigating as attempted human trafficking a report that a woman shopping at grocery store was repeatedly asked by a man if he could buy her 2-year-old son.
The man complimented the woman and told her how beautiful she and her toddler were, and offered her a $100 bill for her child, according to the Covina Police Department.
“Can I buy your son?” the man asked, according to a new release issued by the department.
The man was captured on surveillance video that was released by police.
The incident began about 6:30 p.m. at Baja Ranch Market at 425 S. Citrus Ave. (map), according to the release. A man approached the woman as she was checking out, she told police.
“The suspect made complimentary statements to her and her son about how beautiful they were,” the release stated. “The suspect asked the woman if she wanted to sell her son and when she told him no, the suspect continued with the compliments, but they were focused solely on her son.”
The woman told police she waited for the man to leave the store before returning to her car. In the parking lot, she found the man parked next to her in a brown or champagne colored Honda Pilot in which a second man was seated as well.
“Oh look, it’s you! It’s both of you. You’re so beautiful,” he said, according to the release.
When the woman told the man to leave them alone, he got out of the Pilot, approached her and took a $100 bill from his pocket.
“Can I buy your son?” he said, as she stood petrified. “Go ahead and take it. Just take it.”
The other man in the Pilot also told her to take the money. When she did not respond, the first man dropped the bill in her shopping cart, got back into his Honda and drove away with the second man in the passenger seat.
The first man was described as Hispanic, about 45 years old, standing 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He wore blue jeans and a brown button-down shirt.
The second man was described as black and in his 50s, about 6 feet tall and 215 pounds. He wore tan slacks and a long-sleeve white shirt.
Anyone with information about what police called a “human trafficking attempt” were asked to call the Covina police detective bureau at 626-384-5612, the watch commander at 626-384-5665 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.