Acts of Kindness
Grandma foils kidnapping after noticing licence plate matches amber alert
This is one brave grandma. Thank God she was out birdwatching that day.
Jessica Adler

We’ve all received the ominous update on our phones before that a child has been stolen. Surely, you’ve known the sinking feeling in your gut that comes with every Amber Alert that goes off.

While it’s instinctual to feel a sense of panic or even grief with these updates, it’s important to remember they go out for a reason. They work.

Barbara Gusse of Brooklyn Center is an avid bird watcher.

The grandmother of nine can often be found observing birds in her yard through binoculars.

But she never thought that her favorite hobby might save the life of a child and reunite a baby with its family.


Gusse noticed the heart-dropping Amber Alert around 2:15 p.m.

She saw it on her phone after coming inside from taking care of the birds in her yard.

WCCO CBS Minnesota - YouTube
WCCO CBS Minnesota - YouTube

The alert asked recipients to be on the lookout for a white Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 1-year-old boy in the back seat.

The car had been stolen two hours prior in north Minneapolis.

AUTO THEFT – MISSING CHILD – AMBER ALERT PENDINGFebruary 6, 2021 (MINNEAPOLIS) – At 12:17 PM today a vehicle was…

Posted by Minneapolis Police Department onSaturday, February 6, 2021

Gusse had seen a white Jeep in the parking lot of Cross of Glory Lutheran Church across the street earlier but didn’t think anything of it.

“It was running, you could see the exhaust because it was so cold,” Gusse told the Minnesota Star Tribune.

After spotting the Jeep and tending to the birds, she went back inside to call her daughter, Katye Stolp.

Over the course of 72 hours this past week, you may have heard the sound of a helicopter over Minneapolis. We recognize…

Posted by Minneapolis Police Department onSaturday, January 30, 2021

“We were just talking and the Amber Alert came on and buzzed on all our phones,” said Stolp.

Gusse immediately hung up the phone and grabbed her binoculars to check out its license plate.

“My heart went to my feet,” Gusse said. “I was shaking so bad I couldn’t hold a cup.”

Posted by Minneapolis Police Department onMonday, May 10, 2010

What the birdwatcher picked up on with her handy binoculars was that it was an exact match.

Gusse rushed to call the police who found the boy in the car and reunited him with his parents.

She said she was just happy that the child was found safe and unharmed.

“I’m just happy because I could hear that little thing crying when they opened the door,” she told WCCO CBS Minnesota, letting out a few tears. “I’m just glad he’s OK.”

Apparently, the Amber Alert was the result of car theft.

WCCO CBS Minnesota - YouTube
WCCO CBS Minnesota - YouTube

The boy’s mom reported she had strapped her son in the car seat and ran back into the house. When she came back outside, the car and her child were gone.

Gusse was still shaken even 24-hours after the event.

“I’m a bird watcher, so I got my binoculars and I looked over and it was the same license plate that was on the phone,” Barb Gusse of Brooklyn Center said. “So I called the police department right away.”

Posted by WDIO onSunday, February 7, 2021

“She was crying and saying that I was thinking about my own grandchildren, if something like that happened to them I would be beside myself,” Stolp said.

Police lauded Gusse’s efforts and said the baby could have been harmed due to the cold temperatures if the gas in the car had run out or if the battery died.

IMPORTANT THEFT PREVENTION TIPSPlease Take Note: Across the Twin Cities, there has been an alarming rise in Car…

Posted by Minneapolis Police Department onFriday, February 19, 2021

“This is really exemplary of what happens when the community assists and we are eternally grateful for the 911 caller advising us of where the vehicle was,” Minneapolis Police Department Spokesperson John Elder said.

“The fact that she was alert and willing to reach out is beyond appreciated,” he continued.

The child was “all smiles” when found by the police but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. No arrests have been made so far but the suspect is facing charges of auto theft and kidnapping.

Gusse said she was just doing what any grandmother would if she had the opportunity.

WCCO CBS Minnesota - YouTube
WCCO CBS Minnesota - YouTube

When told she was a hero, Gusse’s response was as altruistic as her actions that saved the baby boy:

“Honey, I’m no hero. I’m just a grandmother,” she said.

See Gusse’s interview as she recounts the events of that day in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Share this article
By Jessica Adler
Jessica Adler is a contributor at SBLY Media.