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Couple with fake babies try to enter hospital maternity ward

Couple with dolls resembling real babies attempt to enter Merced hospital maternity ward

Police are investigating a Merced couple who twice tried to gain access into a local hospital's maternity ward while holding two dolls resembling real babies.

The couple were holding two lifelike baby dolls when they tried to bypass security at the Merced Medical Center's maternity ward over the weekend, saying they had an appointment, officials said.

Detectives have identified the couple and are looking into their motives, including whether they were trying to abduct a baby, Merced Police Capt. Tom Trindad said.

"This is definitely something we are concerned about," he said.

Although the couple were turned away, a security guard thought something was suspicious about them and snapped photographs of them and their fake babies outside, hospital spokesman Robert McLaughlin said. 

Hospital staff immediately alerted police and other area hospitals about the couple, sharing their photographs.

The couple visited the hospital's emergency room on Saturday for an unknown ailment and then made their way up to the maternity ward.

But to gain access to the ward, the couple had to first bypass two security doors, including a camera and doorbell.

They didn't make it pass the first security measure and were turned away. But officials said that didn't stop them from returning the next day.

Again, the couple was denied entry.

"It was just very surprising," McLaughlin said.

Trindad commended the hospital for being "on the ball" in denying the couple entry, possibly averting an abduction.

More than 24 years ago, a baby was abducted from a Merced County community hospital, but was later found, he said.

The couple, Trindad said, could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

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