A man and a woman will appear in court today charged with kidnapping a 5-day-old baby from Middlemore Hospital's maternity unit last night.
The baby was allegedly taken as the mother had a shower and staff were busy by a couple who were apparently able to circumvent security that had been beefed up only two years ago after another baby abduction.
The baby girl was found at the Manurewa property about 4am, safe and well, and was reunited with her parents.
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A 31-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman have been charged with kidnapping and will appear in manukau District Court today.
Hospital: Investigation into security
At a press conference today, Middlemore Hospital Services director Phillip Balmer said the hospital was relieved the baby had been reunited with her parents.
He read from a prepared statement and refused to answer any questions.
Middlemore Hospital was concerned beefed-up security installed two years ago was not enough to stop last night's alleged kidnapping, he said.
Early investigations suggested a couple entered a ward through a locked unit during visiting times, just as another family was leaving the unit.
"As a matter of routine a midwife went to check the woman's details and upon returning found the pair had disappeared," Mr Balmer said.
"Shortly after it was discovered that the baby was missing and the midwife alerted security and police immediately," Mr Balmer added.
He said it was concerning that the pair were able to apparently circumvent security.
Yet he said security improvements made after a baby was kidnapped in 2012 were at least helpful in locating the pair.
"It was because of these previous measures that we were able to provide a quick and effective response between the maternity team, security, and police," Mr Balmer said.
"These additional measures included CCTV across the hospital and locking down all doors at all entrances to the hospital."
Mr Balmer said the hospital also had security staff at each entrance of the hospital and since the 2012 incident had asked staff to be vigilant at all times.
Police tracked the alleged offenders pair through CCTV.
Mr Balmer said interim security measures were implemented today, pending a full investigation.
Middlemore pledged to release the results of the investigation once it was completed.
"We want to acknowledge the stress caused to the parents, in what must have been an interminable wait for them before they could be confident their baby was safe," Mr Balmer said.
"We are doing all we can to provide full support to the family to minimise any impact from this terrible event."
In a short statement this morning, police said the baby was found safe and well at a property in Manurewa about 4am.
"Locating the baby safe and well was the focus of the investigation and police are very happy to have been able to reunite the baby with her parents," said Detective Inspector Dave Lynch.
2012 baby kidnapping
In 2012, a newborn girl was taken from her crib at Middlemore by Neha Narayan, 24.
Narayan, who had suffered a miscarriage but was trying to convince her partner that she had given birth, later admitted a charge of kidnapping.
After that incident, a hospital spokeswoman told APNZ all security cameras on the maternity ward had been reviewed and amended to ensure they captured images of everyone who entered and left the ward.
The hospital also reduced the time it took for swipe card-controlled doors to close, from 30 to 15 seconds. It said then this would help stop unauthorised people entering.