Man Arrested in Orange County For Assault, Attempted Kidnapping of Female Store Employee

An Asian man has been arrested for dragging a female baby store employee into a storage room this weekend.

The crime, which police called an attempted kidnapping, occurred roughly before 7:20 p.m. at the Mon Beau Bebe store, a maternity and baby boutique located at 6226 Irvine Boulevard in Woodbury Town Center, KTLA 5 reported.

Charlie Choi, 47, was arrested at around 4:30 p.m. on Monday in his Portola Springs house.

Surveillance footage showed Choi speaking to the lone employee like a normal customer, but by the time she turned her back, he grabbed her by the hair and tried to drag her into a storage room.

Store manager Stephanie Arreaza told ABC 7 that the victim, reportedly in her 20s, is okay, albeit shaken up:

“She was assaulted at the store, a man had walked in and pretended to be a customer. Sometimes it’s just one of us girls here at a time and you know it happened in seconds. It’s a very scary incident, especially here.”

Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department noted that Choi released the victim when he was told about the surveillance:

“She fought him and told him that there were video cameras in the store, at which point he released her and fled from the store.”

Choi’s motive, however, remains unclear.

“We can’t speculate as to what his intent was, but he was trying to drag her against her will into that storage room. So that’s why we are calling it an attempted kidnapping, because he was trying to forcibly remove her from one place to another,” Mohr said.

Police said that investigative details and information from the community led them to Choi’s doorstep.

Meanwhile, the Mon Beau Bebe store changed its staffing schedule to ensure that nobody will work alone again, Arreaza said.

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