A Florida mother successfully fought to save her teenage daughter from a potential abduction Tuesday, according to WFLA-TV.
A suspected kidnapper attempted to grab the 13-year-old girl in broad daylight while she was shopping with her mother in a Dollar General store.
Police said the suspect, Craig Bonello, 30, grabbed the girl by the arm and dragged her through the store. Her mother was able to catch up and grab her daughter and pull her away.
Police said Bonello then ran out of the store, where an off-duty Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputy was just getting out of his patrol car to enter the store.
The deputy, Jonathan Behnen, heard the store’s manager shout that the man running away had tried to kidnap a girl. Behnen used his car to block the suspect’s car and ultimately took him into custody.
“In my 10 years on the road, I have never seen anything like this,” Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Craig Callahan told WFLA. “He truly intended to abduct this child right in front of everyone in the store.”
“It actually was violent enough to tear the girl’s shirt up pretty badly that she was wearing,” Callahan added. “We’re very fortunate that the mother had the motherly instinct and did what she did. She may have saved her daughter’s life.”
Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ricky Grant told WFLA “Behnen is a bona fide hero.”
“If it weren’t for him, this guy would have gotten away,” Grant said. “Thank goodness the girl’s mother jumped into action to prevent this man from kidnapping her daughter. And, thank goodness Deputy Behnen used his training and experience to stop this man from escaping.”
Police have not released the names of the victim or her mother. Police said they are “both very rattled” but uninjured.
(H/T: New York Daily News)
Follow Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) on Twitter