East Naples man sentenced for snatching boy at Coastland mall

Donald Emerson Hayes, 46, of the 2000 block of Airport-Pulling Road S. in East Naples. (Photo via CCSO)

NAPLES, Fla. A man accused of taking a 6-year-old boy from his family at Coastland Center Mall was sentenced to two years in prison.

Donald Emerson Hayes, 46, pleaded no contest Friday to a charge of interfering with custody, a third-degree felony. The state attorney’s office had earlier planned to pursue a kidnapping charge.

He’ll get credit for time served since his arrest in May.

MORE: Man accused of snatching boy at Coastland Center mall

Hayes was said to have picked up the boy and briefly carried him away before putting him back down when commanded by the boy’s mother.

Hayes acted high and followed the family around the mall, a witness said. He offered them $100 to talk to him before he grabbed the boy, according to the witness.

The St. Matthews House, a homeless shelter, was listed as Hayes’ address at the time of his arrest.

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