A store clerk, a mother, and a quick-thinking deputy are being credited with saving a girl from a potential abduction in Citrus County, FL, in broad daylight, reports WFLA.
Deputies responded to the Dollar General on Tuesday after receiving a 911 call. Dispatchers learned that an attempted child abduction was in progress.
Investigators say the suspect, Craig Bonello, age 30, entered the store and at some point grabbed a 13-year-old girl who was shopping with her mother. As he ran toward the exit of the store with the girl in his arms, the mother was able to catch up to him and grab her daughter.
Bonello finally let go of the girl and ran out the front door of the Dollar General. Off-duty Citrus County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jonathan Behnen happened to be getting out of his patrol car to enter the store.
The store manager, who is known to Dep. Behnen, then yelled to him that the man running away had just tried to kidnap a child. Behnen pulled his patrol car in front of the suspect's vehicle as he tried to leave the parking lot. He ordered the man out of the car with his weapon in hand. After initially not complying, the man was taken into custody.
The mother and her daughter, although both very rattled, are uninjured.
"Behnen is a bona fide hero today," said said Citrus County Sheriff's Office Capt. Ricky Grant, who was also on scene. "If it weren't for him, this guy would have gotten away."