A mother clutched her baby and screamed loudly as a man tried to snatch the child out of her arms.
The woman could be heard yelling, “don’t take my baby” as she fought back the alleged attacker on Timaru’s main street on Saturday about 1pm.
The man, who wearing a loose fitted black hoodie, a cap, and dark sunglasses, was seen trying to wrestle the baby capsule stroller off the woman.
He allegedly punched the mother in the face several times, but eventually handed the baby back to the woman as a crowd of people came to her aid.
One onlooker, who tried to calm the alleged attacker, was also punched in the face.
Gertu Phillips, 48, was shopping with her daughter when she heard a scuffle breaking out.
“We heard a lady screaming, it sounded like it was behind a car and there was some scuffling and fighting I believe,” Phillip said.
It appeared the man was trying to steal the baby from the woman, she said.
“Well it looked like it, I first thought it’s a family issue with the dad wanting the baby back because he was both, you know holding on to the baby’s chair but we were quite far away but she was screaming, like very loud,” Phillip said
The man then left the scene, and was seen grabbing a black backpack from a nearby car before casually walking down Stafford St.
Sergeant Grant Lord said two police officers had arrested a 31-year-old man in connection with the alleged assault about 1.27pm.
He had been found about 300m from the scene.
Lord said the man will appear in court facing two assault charges.