This week a Florida man attempted to kidnap a 13-year-old girl from a local Dollar General, but he was thwarted in the act by the girl’s mother, who chased him down like a Valkyrie and tackled him in the middle of the store, and the whole thing was caught on video.
According to NBC News, a suspect named Craig Bonello, who was a regular at the dollar store in question, was casually browsing the store’s aisles when he suddenly grabbed a 13-year-old girl and tried to run off with her. The video of the attack is scarier than I expected it to be, because a 13-year-old girl is not a small child. One would think it would not be so easy to kidnap her this way, but on the video Bonello drags the kicking, screaming young woman down two aisles of the store as easily as if she were a backpack.
Fortunately, the girl’s mother was standing with her and she chased Bonello down. Even with her hitting him, he did not really slow down. From the video, it looks like what finally stopped him was that the mother grabbed the daughter and flung herself to the ground, and Bonello couldn’t drag both of them away quickly enough.
An off-duty police deputy who was also a regular at the store happened to be coming in for some cleaning supplies, and he said that when he pulled into the parking lot and saw the commotion, he thought it was just a shoplifter. But when he realized it was a thwarted kidnapping, he managed to use his police car to block the suspect’s car from leaving, then arrested him.
The security camera footage is available here:
“I thought the mom was stellar in this case,” the sheriff said. “Mom was on it. He was getting his butt kicked by Mom. That was one of the refreshing things you saw in that video.”
Bonello was unlikely to have actually managed to get away with the girl in broad daylight, but if not for the mother he might have gotten away when he tried to flee. Who knows where he’d have gone or what he’d have done if he hadn’t been arrested in the parking lot.
It’s a dark story, though. Bonello reportedly has a long history of mental illness, and his problems allegedly led to his discharge from the Air Force when he was just 18 or 19 years old. Now his public defender says he’s basically homeless and gets no aid or treatment. There’s a terrible lack of mental health services available for the poor, and Bonello has basically been left to his own devices. In this case, he’s been charged with abuse and attempted kidnapping, but he’ll likely be declared incompetent to stand trial.