A Florida mom saved her daughter from being abducted when a brazen kidnapping suspect at a Dollar General snatched the 13-year-old girl in broad daylight and attempted to drag her from the Dollar General store. The terrifying incident took place on Tuesday, according to the Citrus Country Sheriff’s Office. In addition to the mom’s quick thinking, the abduction attempt was thwarted by an off-duty deputy who happened to be outside the Dollar General when the crime was called in.
The attempted abduction took place just after 11:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, and the police were called to respond to the scene playing out at the Dollar General store in Hernando at 11:42 a.m., but the off-duty officer was able to apprehend and arrest the fleeing suspect before he could escape, says NBC News.
Take a look at the unbelievable Dollar General surveillance video that has now gone viral.
The kidnapping suspect has been identified as 30-year-old Craig Bonello of Hernando, Florida. In the video, he can be seen lurking in the Dollar General aisles, checking out the 13-year-old and her mom as they shopped at the discount retailer. Then, Bonello can be seen grabbing the teen and attempting to drag her out of the store. Fortunately, the teen’s mother jumped into action and was able to wrestle her daughter away from the suspect following a “tug of war” according to the sheriff’s office. The law enforcement agency posted the Dollar General surveillance video to their Facebook page along with a statement about the inexplicable crime.
“Craig Bonello, 30, of Hernando, was taken into custody and will be charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of child abuse. For that reason, the 13-year-old victim’s identity will not be released.”
The heroic off-duty deputy was Jonathan Behnen, who happened to be swinging by the Dollar General location after spending the early part of the day in court. He was outside the store when the store manager yelled to him that the man fleeing the scene had attempted to brazenly abduct a child.
According to reports, Behnen blocked the suspect’s vehicle in the Dollar General parking lot using his patrol car and then proceeded to arrest Bonello. Sgt. Craig Callahan, an employee of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, said that he’d never witnessed an abduction attempt so brazen in his entire career.
“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.”
The Dollar General abduction attempt is still under active investigation, according to law enforcement. They say that they are still trying to figure out the motive behind the blatant crime, but are happy to report to the media that no one was physically hurt in the terrifying Dollar General ordeal.
Bonello is facing some steep charges as a result of his actions, which were caught on camera for the world to see. According to the sheriff’s office, he will face one count of kidnapping and another of child abuse.
The suspect in the Dollar General abduction attempt is no stranger to law enforcement. Bonello has had “several” misdemeanor arrests since 2009, with the most recent being a trespassing charge at a Florida Wal-Mart store. So far, the media has been unable to contact the suspect or his legal representation (who remains unknown) for comment on the Dollar General abduction incident. Bonello has been rumored to have confessed to prior kidnappings since his arrest, but that has not been confirmed.
The alleged kidnapper’s uncle, Tony Bonello, insists that his nephew is in need of psychological help.
“It’s just sad that this has happened, because this is not the kid that grew up with my kids. He needs to talk to some psychiatrists and find out what the issue is.”
According to court records, Craig Bonello has been ordered to have a competency hearing in relation to his Wal-Mart trespassing case, but that hearing had not yet been scheduled at the time of the Dollar General abduction attempt.
Sheriff’s officials are crediting the mother in this case for saving her daughter from being dragged away, as well as commending Deputy Jonathan Behnen for preventing the Dollar General abduction suspect from getting away.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]