The man who allegedly snatched a 5-year-old boy off a Queens sidewalk — only to have the child’s quick-thinking mom grab him back last week — made his first appearance in court on Friday.
James McGonagle, 24, was remanded into custody following his arraignment in Queens Supreme Court on a two-count indictment charging him with attempted kidnapping and child endangerment, prosecutors said.
McGonagle, of Fresh Meadows, faces up to fifteen years in prison if convicted.
Disturbing surveillance video of the July 17 incident allegedly showed McGonagle sprinting out of a parked car and grabbing little Jacob Diaz, who was walking with his mom and siblings in Richmond Hill.
McGonagle then allegedly shoved the boy into the backseat of the vehicle — prompting mom Dolores Diaz Lopez to jump into action.
The heroic mom desperately tried to free her son, as McGonagle allegedly “clutched the child’s legs from the opposite side of the car and attempted to pull him back into the vehicle,” the Queens District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Diaz Lopez, 45, was able to free her from the car before the creep sped away.
A male passenger seen in the video — whom police sources previously told The Post is McGonagle’s 55 year-old father, also named James McGonagle, — was apparently unaware of his son’s intentions.
Moments before the terrifying incident, the passenger could be heard asking “What are you doing?” to which McGonagle allegedly responded “We are taking the kid,” prosecutors said.
McGonagle was arrested the following morning at Brookdale Hospital after police spotted him being treated for injuries to his face, the DA’s office said.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz called the incident “a parent’s worst fear,” and praised Diaz Lopez for her courage.
“In a brazen fashion, the defendant grabbed the little boy, who was just a few steps from his mother, and allegedly tried to kidnap him,” Katz said in a statement.
“This is a parent’s worst fear. This mother fought to save her son. Never underestimate the strength of a mom. Thankfully he has been apprehended and will face justice.”
McGonagle is due back in court on Sept. 8.