Man Arrested In Attempted Walmart Kidnapping

Posted at 5:47 PM, Feb 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-26 21:27:27-05

A 50-year-old homeless man has been arrested in an attempted kidnapping at a local Walmart.

Officials said good Samaritans helped stop the attempted kidnapping situation that happened in the parking lot.

The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Walmart in the 3300 block of Tom Austin Highway in Springfield.

Authorities said the victim, a 23-year-old woman, was attempting to put her groceries away in the backseat of her vehicle.

That’s when the suspect came up behind her, pulled out a knife, and tried to force her into the vehicle.

Reports stated the suspect got her into the backseat where she started to fight in an attempt to get away.

The victim told police the man tried to stab her, but she grabbed the knife and that’s when he cut her.

Customers in the parking lot rushed to help when they heard the victim yelling, and officials said the good Samaritans were able to pull the suspect off the victim, wrestling him to the ground.

Authorities confirmed the suspect was able to break away and run from the scene; however, he dropped the knife before fleeing.

Sunday night, authorities said they had taken 50-year-old Willie Joe Bufford into custody. Reports stated Bufford, who was homeless, admitted to having an altercation with a woman at Walmart, but he denied the attempted robbery or kidnapping.

According to Bufford, he had a knife, but it allegedly fell out of his pocket when the victim grabbed him.

According to police, video surveillance showed the suspect stalking the victim as she walked to her vehicle from inside the store.

The woman was taken to Northcrest Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Bufford will be charged with criminal attempted aggravated robbery, criminal attempted kidnapping, and aggravated assault.