A couple carrying swaddled dolls they treated like real babies tried to sneak into the maternity ward of a northern California hospital, authorities said.
Mercy Medical Center in Merced alerted police and other area hospitals after the couple made two attempts to get past security and into its family birth center, once on Saturday and again on Monday, hospital spokesman Robert McLaughlin told ABC News today. Both were carrying dolls.
"They acted like they were real," he said. "They hold them and hug them and change their diapers. It’s very odd."
The Merced Police Department has identified the couple and is investigating, but said there are no criminal charges.
"It's not illegal to have a fake baby," McLaughlin said.
A security guard suspicious of the couple's intentions asked to take the photos, which helped police track them down, he added.
The man and woman were first seen in the hospital’s emergency room on Saturday, McLaughlin said. The man was treated for an injury, and then the couple stayed in the hospital and went to the second floor, where the family birth center is located, he said.
"They said they had an appointment with an educator or something, which wasn’t true," McLaughlin said.
The woman was wearing hospital scrubs and carrying an outdated business card of the center’s director, he added, noting that staffers from each floor of the hospital wear a designated color, so employees immediately knew that the woman didn’t work there.
A security guard prevented the couple from getting inside the family birth center, McLaughlin said, adding that "everyone was safe."
It’s not clear why the couple wanted access to the area. The investigation is ongoing, police said.