PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Vancouver Police said if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking bystanders, the outcome might have been different when a 49-year-old man attempted to kidnap a 14-year-old at the Vancouver Mall Saturday.
Steven Hayes allegedly tried to drag the teen out of the building against their will. Police said he also threatened to kill the teen in the process.
When the victim fought back, Hayes tried to run from the scene. He was chased by other people at the mall who were able to grab and hold him until police arrived.
“I like to go to the mall,” local mother Brenda Wilson said. “I live in Camas and it’s scary that this is happening in our little area.”
Wilson decided on Sunday that if her 12-year-old son Bennett wanted to go to the Vancouver Mall with his friend, she would be there with him.
“I’m still going to go to the mall,” said Bennett after he heard what happened. “I’m going to go with my mom. We’re going to be the little dream team.”
The teen’s story has inspired him to fight back as well if something like this were to happen to him.
“I was worried. It’s scary knowing this is the number one sex trafficking area of Washington,” Wilson said. “It’s scary—I didn’t know that until yesterday.”
Vancouver Police said the victim was not physically hurt during the ordeal. KOIN 6 talked to the victim’s family, and they said they are definitely shaken up.
Hayes was booked into the Clark County Jail on charges of kidnapping, assault, and felony harassment. He also has a prior conviction for kidnapping. Hayes is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.