AUGUSTA — The man who kidnapped a Walmart shopper in a parking lot and stole her money last week told his victim that he needed cash to help his young son, police said Friday.

Augusta police disclosed that and other details on Friday because the ongoing investigation has yet to lead to a suspect and police are turning to the public for help.

“We’ve followed up a ton of stuff,” said Augusta Police Detective Lt. Keith Brann. “We don’t want the trail to cool off.”

Police say the man confronted a woman in the Marketplace at Augusta Walmart parking lot on Dec. 20. He showed her a weapon — police won’t say what kind — as he forced her into the passenger seat of her car.

Police initially said that the robber drove the woman to an automated teller machine and forced her to withdraw cash from a local bank. However, Augusta Police Detective Tori Tracy clarified Friday that the man wanted to go to an ATM, but no money was withdrawn.

“She had given him reasons not to,” Tracy said.

He did take money she already had with her from her, police said.

The robber drove south into the city, stopping near 40 Mount Vernon Ave., which is near Augusta Mill Park and Bond Brook. He then fled with the undisclosed amount of money he took from the woman, leaving her to drive herself to a nearby store, where she called police about 5:50 p.m.

No one was hurt during the encounter, police said.

Police also said Friday that the man told the woman he needed money for rent and to support his young son, whom the man said had been abused. The man told the woman that nobody would help him, Brann said.

“He was trying to gain her sympathy,” Brann said. “For lack of a better term, he was apologetic.”

Police believe the revelation of the child could be an important clue and might spur someone to call authorities with information.

“The young child is a big deal,” Brann said. “He was very upset about that.”

The man was soft-spoken and had what were described as rough and dirty hands, perhaps an indication that he works with his hands, police said.

The robber was also very familiar with Augusta, Brann said.

“He’s (likely) from somewhere in the city,” he said.

Police say they are looking for a white man in his early- to mid-20s who is about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. The robber was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, light-colored carpenter jeans and a dark baseball cap with a white logo on the visor. He wrapped an article of clothing over the lower portion of his face.

He was likely inexperienced at such a serious crime, and may be under particular emotional or financial strain, Brann said. A friend or family member is likely aware of the situation and may have noticed that the man suddenly had extra money.

Even discussions generated by media accounts of the crime can spur helpful information, police said.

“Sometimes they might say, ‘I can understand where he’s coming from,’ or something like that,” Brann said. “Even if you don’t think that it’s a big deal, it may be a big deal.”

The encounter began around 5:20 p.m., as the victim walked back to her car, parked in a side lot near the store’s grocery section. The woman was driving a gray 2010 Toyota Carolla four-door sedan.

Police believe there are people who can identify the robber or saw something the night of the carjacking.

“A lot of people drove by,” said Augusta Police Detective Jason Cote.

Police asked anyone with information to call Tracy at 626-2370 ext. 3437.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

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