Home / National News / Florida Mom, Off-Duty Deputy Thwart Abduction of 13-Year-Old Girl in Store, Police Say

 

(CITRUS COUNTY, Fla.) — Surveillance video captured a dramatic scene inside a Florida convenient store where a man allegedly attempted to kidnap a 13-year-old girl, according to police.

Suspect Craig Bonello entered the store Tuesday and grabbed the teen, who was shopping with her mother, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said.

Bonello, 30, can apparently be seen on surveillance camera pulling the girl by her arms and dragging her to the front door, police said of the mid-day incident that happened about 80 miles west of Orlando.

But the teen’s mother quickly jumped into action, grabbing onto her daughter’s arm while fighting off Bonello in a “tug-of-war,” officials said.

Bonello eventually let go and ran out the front door, as off-duty Citrus County Sheriff’s Dep. Jonathan Behnen was getting out of his patrol car to enter the store.

That’s when the store manager yelled to Behnen for help.

Behnen quickly jumped back into his patrol car and blocked Bonello from leaving the parking lot.

Dehnen grabbed his gun and ordered Bonello out of his car, after which he was arrested and taken into custody. Bonello has not yet entered a plea.

“In my ten years on the road I have never seen anything like this,” Citrus County Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Callahan said. “He truly intended to abduct this child right in front of everyone in the store.”

The mother and teen were upset, but uninjured, police said

Investigators are working to find out what Bonello’s intentions were.

“Thank goodness the girl’s mother jumped into action to prevent this man from kidnapping her daughter,” Citrus County Sheriff’s Capt. Ricky Grant. “And, thank goodness, Dep. Behnen used his training and experience to stop this man from escaping.”

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