Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck talks to reporters outside of the Hannaford store in Back Cove on Oct. 20. (Kevin Miller/Portland Press Herald)

A man sought by Portland police after allegedly attempting to take an infant at the Back Cove Hannaford supermarket on Friday told police he took the wrong cart by mistake.

Police said they have identified and questioned the man who took the shopping cart while shopping at Hannaford that day.

Store staffers were alerted just after 1 p.m. that day by a father who reported that he was in the produce department with his 2-month-old child in a car seat in the basket of a shopping cart. While he was distracted, the cart, along with the child, disappeared.

The store immediately issued a “Code Adam Alert,” which effectively locking down the store and prevented anyone from leaving while staff searched the store. The baby was found in a few minutes in another aisle, unharmed and still restrained in the car seat.

Store security video showed a man in the produce section leaving his original cart and taking the cart containing the baby.

He later told police he realized his mistake within a minute. He went back to the produce section and got his own cart, leaving the other cart with the baby in the bread aisle. The man told police he panicked when he realized what he had done, but didn’t immediately notify store employees.

The District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the incident and determined no apparent criminal action occurred.

“We are pleased that we have been able to determine exactly what happened in this instance. It is a very frightening event for all parents and raised safety concerns in our community. It is important for our citizens to know that as disturbing as this incident was, it was not an attempt to abduct a child,” said Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.

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