"Child snatching" is a term used to refer to child abductions, but it does not usually mean that the abductor literally grabbed the victim. That was not the case this Tuesday morning at the Dollar General in Hernando, Florida, reports TV news station WFLA, when a man actually grabbed a 13-year-old girl standing next to her mother and attempted to drag her out of the store.
At about 11:30 a.m., a mother and her daughter were browsing the aisles of Dollar General, as was a man later identified to be 30-year-old Craig Bonello.Suddenly, Bonello grabbed the teenage girl by the shirt and began dragging her along Dollar General's smooth enamel floor toward the door as fast as he could.
A Dollar General surveillance video of the incident later released on Facebook by police shows that the mother was not even looking away when her daughter was grabbed, though. Bonello may have been quick, but what with the weight of the girl, which slowed him down, combined with the fact that he got basically no jump on the mother, who obviously began chasing him down immediately, he only got to around the Dollar General register before the mother caught up, grabbed ahold of the shirt, and tried to pull her daughter away in a twisted game of tug-of-war. The Dollar General clerk watched on from the other side of the desk in horror.
After a few seconds of the back-and-forth (presumably a few seconds; the video does not show that part), Bonello realized he was not going to be able to pull the girl away from her adrenaline-aided mother. He let go of the shirt and sprinted out the Dollar General's door to the parking lot.
Luckily for the girl's mother, an off-duty County Sheriff's Office deputy named Jonathan Behnen had been pulling into the Dollar General at about the time she and Bonello were fighting over the girl. Also luckily for her, the Dollar General clerk happened to know Behnen - Hernando, FLA is a fairly small town. The clerk ran to the door, and called out to him by name, letting him know the man hurriedly getting into his car had just attempted to abduct a child.Thinking quickly, Behnen backed up and parked his cruiser (yes, police can drive them while off-duty in most areas) in front of the Dollar General parking lot's only entrance/exit. Without a way to escape except on foot, Bonello was trapped. He hesitated, but he finally complied and was taken into custody, reports FOX News.
Authorities have revealed that the Dollar General botched kidnapping incident was "violent enough to tear the girl's shirt up pretty badly that she was wearing." But the mother and daughter, although obviously rattled, are uninjured.
Police backup would soon show up at Dollar General, and they soon began analyzing the scene and the testimonies given by those present. They were baffled by the crime and were at a loss as to what Bonello's motives might have been, as he did not have any predatory or sex-related crime record.Not only that, but Bonello's Dollar General crime seemed, from testimonies and security camera footage, to be so doomed to fail. It appears obvious that even a very fast person would have been unable to make it out of the store with the girl, and the middle of Dollar General at midday is a very inopportune place and time to attempt a kidnapping.
"In my 10 years on the road I have never seen anything like this," mused Police Sergeant Craig Callahan from the scene. "He truly intended to abduct this child right in front of everyone in the store."
Squad Commander Buddy Grant would later voice his relief.
"This was a chaotic scene with a lot at stake. Thank goodness the girl's mother jumped into action to prevent this man from kidnapping her daughter. And, thank goodness Dep. Behnen used his training and experience to stop this man from escaping."Police later released Dollar General's surveillance footage of the incident, viewable below, that shows Bonello grabbing the girl and the mother catching him.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]