The suspect, James McGonagle, 24, of Pomonok, was finally arrested on Friday night and has been charged with attempted kidnapping, reckless endangerment and acting in a manner injurious to a child. The shocking video of the incident has since gone viral.
Police arrested McGonagle on Friday after surveillance video showed him randomly grabbing the boy from the sidewalk off a street in Richmond Hill neighborhood. Lopez noted that the stranger who grabbed her son did not say anything as he put him in the car and that she had never seen him before.
"I said 'oh my God my kids, oh my God my boy,'" said the 45-year-old mother. The surveillance video footage released on Friday shows the Jacob walking with his mother around 8 pm when McGonagle got out of a red vehicle, picked the boy up, and carried him into the car while the other suspect sat in the front passenger's seat.
The video shows the suspect in a white T-shirt and gray shorts. After putting the five-year-old in the car, the boy initially sits down, but when his older brother approaches, pleading with the suspect to release the boy, Jacob gets up and Lopez is able to pull him out.
Lopez is then seen on video rushing toward the car and, after a brief struggle, pulls Jacob through the front passenger window.
"I don't know why that happened. I didn't see those people, ever," Lopez told ABC7.
She explained in Spanish that a mother's instinct is what made her fight and act in a different way. "You have to do what's necessary, no matter what," she said.
"The car was just parked there. I would never have imagined that a man would get out of the car and grab my son. You always have to be aware of your surroundings and not be on your phone."
Unable to hold on to the boy, the suspect in the botched child abduction and another man are seen on the video fleeing south on Hillside, before turning west onto Jamaica Avenue. According to police, Jacob didn't suffer any injury in the broad daylight attack.
Also, they confirmed that the suspect wasn't known to Lopez or her son. McGonagle was arrested on Friday but that too was more like a miracle. According to sources, officers were at Brookdale Hospital for an unrelated matter when they recognized the suspect from the video.
The suspect was reportedly at the hospital seeking some sort of treatment and was taken into custody. Police say the suspect is undergoing an evaluation at the hospital.
However, McGonagle's alleged accomplice, an older bald man who can be seen wearing jeans, an orange polo shirt and sunglasses, remains at large.
The chilling incident comes as crime rates in New York continue to soar, with gun violence surging and attacks on the city's subway systems and in the streets becoming increasingly common.