Grandmother who foiled abduction says she was ready for a fight

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AUGUSTA — The Maine State Museum worker who police say prevented the abduction of a 2-year-old girl is a 65-year-old woman with a bum knee. But Sharon Wise says she was ready for a “big fight” if the assailant hadn’t stopped trying to yank the girl through the exit.

Wise, of Winthrop, said Friday that James Cavallaro caught her eye because he was acting strangely.

She intervened Tuesday when he suddenly grabbed the girl while her grandmother’s back was turned, saying she looked the man in the eye and told him: “Don’t you touch her. You let her go!”

“I did what I had to do, because he wasn’t leaving there with her,” she told The Associated Press. “There would’ve been a fight, a big fight, if he kept yanking her.”

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Cavallaro, of Bath, left the museum and was quickly arrested, law enforcement officials said.

He was out on bail at the time of the museum encounter, authorities said. He remained jailed Friday, charged with assault and violating terms of release. The Kennebec Journal reported that he faces charges of aggravated assault, domestic assault and terrorizing in another case. It was unknown if he’d hired a lawyer.

Bernard Fishman, director of the Maine State Museum, said it holds training on how to deal with a child who is missing. He praised Wise for paying attention to her surroundings and realizing that something was wrong.

Wise, a retired teacher who has four grandchildren, said she knew the girl and her grandmother, who were regulars at the museum, and knew something was wrong when the man grabbed the youngster.

“You don’t touch a kid — you just don’t,” she said.

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