Cops: Mom Fights Off Man Trying to Abduct Daughter

She wrestled the teen from man's grasp in Florida store
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2016 8:19 AM CDT

Police in Florida are praising a woman whose "motherly instinct … may have saved her daughter's life." Surveillance video from a Dollar General store in Hernando on Tuesday shows a man police are identifying as 30-year-old Craig Bonello pushing a cart full of items. He then wanders into an aisle and grabs a 13-year-old girl who was shopping with her mother, dragging the teen by the arm along the floor toward the exit. The girl's mother catches up and eventually succeeds in freeing her daughter after a "tug of war," per NBC News. Police say Bonello then ran outside, followed by the store manager, who yelled that he had tried to abduct a child. That alerted off-duty sheriff's deputy Jonathan Behnen, who was about to enter the store and used his patrol car to block Bonello's vehicle as he tried to escape, the sheriff's office says.

Bonello was arrested and charged with kidnapping and child abuse. The teen was uninjured, though the attack "was violent enough to tear the girl's shirt up pretty badly," Sgt. Craig Callahan tells WFLA. "Thank goodness the girl's mother jumped into action to prevent this man from kidnapping her daughter," an officer adds. "And thank goodness Dep. Behnen used his training and experience to stop this man from escaping." Officers still aren't clear on a motive, but "I know it wasn't a good one," Callahan says, per Fox 13. "In my 10 years on the road I have never seen anything like this. He truly intended to abduct this child right in front of everyone in the store." Court records show Bonello has been arrested several times since 2009, including for trespassing at a Walmart in February, but that case didn't involve an abduction. (More child abduction stories.)

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