Katie Sorensen, a mom influencer, made a pretty big claim on Instagram this week. In multiple videos, she said her children were almost kidnapped at a Michaels craft store in her town of Petaluma, California. Sorensen’s videos went mega-viral. They’ve been viewed more than 2 million times and she now has 80,000 followers (before she made the videos she had 6,000). As a result of her claim that her kids were nearly snatched, Sorensen has been deluged with support.
But not everyone is buying her story. And by not everyone, I mean the cops.
The Petaluma Police Department says something stinks. They say the story Sorensen told on Instagram is not the same tale she gave the cops in her initial report. Apparently, there’s information in the IG posts that the boys in blue never got. The police also say they don’t currently have enough information to bring a case against the would-be kidnappers.
Sorensen told Buzzfeed News that she wanted parents to be empowered to trust their gut instinct. But she also said she felt uncomfortable making the videos, and only did so because she wanted to help parents be vigilant.
“I think right now we are so distracted by everything that is going on in the world that we kind of have our guards up about masks and wanting to keep our children safe that way that we are forgetting the most important way to keep them safe, and that is with us and to not have them taken,” Sorensen said.
Katie Sorensen says strangers tried to kidnap her kids outside the Petaluma @MichaelsStores after following them around inside. Her @instagram video (partial here) has hit 2M views. @petaluma_police investigating. She & @PollyDad speak out to @KTVU 5:15, 6:15, 7:30 p.m. pic.twitter.com/cG0wnm2JgQ— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) December 15, 2020
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorensen’s Instagram account is private so we had to pull the reposted video from Twitter.]
The Petaluma Police Department said that, according to Sorensen, a man and a woman followed her and her children inside the Michaels store, after making comments about the appearance of the kids. Later, the couple allegedly followed Sorensen to her car, where they loitered while Sorensen loaded her kids into the vehicle. Apparently, either the man or the woman made a move as if to grab the stroller. Sorensen says she froze.
Someone, presumably Sorensen, ended up calling the police. But when the officers arrived at the scene, they were unable to locate the couple. Sorensen made it clear that she didn’t want anyone to get arrested. Even so, the police indicated that there was “insufficient evidence to establish that a crime had occurred.”
The PD later released a photo of a man and a woman that Sorensen identified as the suspects. But after viewing her Instagram videos, the police said “inconsistencies between the two accounts of the incident need to be resolved before criminal charges can be considered.”
Even though it looks like the Petaluma police don’t believe Sorensen’s story, Petaluma Police Sgt. Ed Crosby told BuzzFeed News that people shouldn’t assume that’s the case. Crosby said he simply wants the public to come forward with any new information that might help the department make sense of the differences between Sorensen’s police report and the statements she made in her viral videos.
Sorensen told Buzzfeed News that she had no ulterior motives for the videos.
“I had no intentions or underlying motives for sharing my story, other than to encourage fellow parents to always remain vigilant,” she said. “I hope my family and our local law enforcement will be given the respect and support we each deserve as we continue on.”