Police have arrested a woman accused of trying to steal five babies from two different hospitals in less than eight hours disguised as a nurse.
The 21-year-old was held after being stopped by the father of a new-born she attempted to take from a hospital room in Valencia, Spain, by claiming she needed to do a heel prick test on him.
She fled the room but was tracked down to a toilet where she had hid to take off her fake nurse’s uniform – after two other failed attempts to steal children from the hospital.
Police discovered she had tried to take two other newborns from a medical centre in Cartagena 170 miles south earlier in the day.
The scares happened within an eight-hour period on Sunday at Cartagena General Hospital and a second public hospital in Valencia called La Fe.
The suspect, who was expected to go before an investigating judge later today after a police interrogation, has not been named.
The father who raised the alarm around 7.30pm on Sunday, prompting the woman’s arrest, works as a doctor.
He is said to have snatched his hours-old child out of her arms and alerted hospital staff after becoming suspicions about the answers she gave to his questions on the tests she said needed to be performed.
She entered two more rooms before being caught – but discovered the woman in one was yet to give birth and was ordered out of the other by suspicious relatives of the child she allegedly tried to take.
Hospital security guards held her as she left the toilets before police arrived.
Detectives discovered a bus ticket in her pocket as they searched her – and were subsequently able to link her to an attempted double baby snatch at the hospital in Cartagena earlier in the day.
Specialist officers are now trying to establish if she acted alone or with the help of accomplices.
Security at both hospitals has been increased following the scare.
Around 6,000 babies are born each year at La Fe Hospital.
A police spokesman confirmed: “National Police officers have arrested a 21-year-old Spaniard suspected of the attempted unlawful detention of a child after she tried to take the new-born away using the excuse of a medical test.
“The incident occurred on Sunday evening when a woman dressed in a white gown entered a hospital room in Valencia saying she needed to perform tests on the child.
“She took the child from a relative’s arms but its father became suspicious and started to ask her about the supposed test, receiving incoherent answers in return.
“He snatched his child from her arms and the woman fled the room.
“He then alerted staff and security guards intercepted the woman as she left a toilet and confiscated the uniform she had been wearing which was from another hospital.”
The spokesman also confirmed she had entered two other rooms at the hospital in Valencia, adding: “Police later discovered the woman in custody had tried to take two other babies from a hospital in Cartagena using the same excuse that she needed to do tests on them.
“She immediately alerted the parents’ suspicion because the test she claimed needed to be performed had already been carried out.”
The suspect reportedly told police after her arrest she had recently suffered two abortions.