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VIDEO – Attempted Child Abduction Leads to “Tug-of-War” with Mother, Off-Duty Deputy Captures Suspect

UPDATE: 6/8/2016, 10:09 A.M. – Craig Bonello, 30, of Hernando is charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of child abuse.

HERNANDO (CITRUS) – An unbelievable story out of Citrus County today, after attempted child abduction was thwarted by an off-duty Citrus County Sheriff’s Deputy who happened to stumble onto the scene.
According to officials, at 11:42 a.m. today, deputies responded to the Dollar General at 2560 N Trucks Ave, regarding a disturbance inside the store.
While deputies were en route, dispatchers learned that a child-abduction was in progress.
Officials say a man entered the store and at some point grabbed a 13-year-old female 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 onto her daughter. A “tug-of-war” ensued between the suspect and the mother, and screaming could be heard throughout the store. The suspect finally let go of the girl and ran out the front door of the Dollar General, just as off duty Deputy Jonathan Behnen was getting out of his patrol car to enter the store. Behnen had been to court earlier in the morning and had stopped at the store to grab supplies when he encountered the running suspect.

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. At that moment Behnen jumped into action, pulling his patrol car in front of the suspect’s vehicle as he tried to exit the parking lot. He then ordered the man out of the car with his weapon in hand. After initially not complying, the man was taken into custody without further incident.
The mother and her daughter, although both very rattled, were uninjured.

“In my ten years on the road I have never seen anything like this,” said Sgt. Craig Callahan from the scene. “He truly intended to abduct this child right in front of everyone in the store.”

“Behnen is a bona fide hero today,” said Capt. Ricky Grant, who was also on scene. “If it weren’t for him, this guy would have gotten away.”

“This certainly supports the reason why we let deputies take their vehicles home,” added Capt. Grant. “Thank goodness Dep. Behnen was there to catch Bonello before he got away.”

The suspect, 30-year-old Craig Bonello of Inverness is expected to be charged later today but the exact charges are unknown at this time.
Bonello has been arrested several times by the CCSO, the last in Feb., 2016, for trespassing. His other charges were misdemeanors, except for an aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer back in 2009.
“This was a chaotic scene with a lot at stake,” said Commander Buddy Grant. “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. This is obviously someone who needs to be behind bars. He won’t be getting out anytime soon to do this again.”

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  • I pray to God this thing is never released. I think it is very important that it’s (can’t refer to it being a human being, more as if it’s an animal) property is checked for other victims. Prayers go out to the young lady and her mom, what a nightmare!
    Deputy Behnen you are an Angel!

    Thursday, 9 June 2016, 9:18 pm
  • He is drugged up on something. Thank god the mother managed to fight off the idiot. What a stoke of luck for off duty LE to stop to shop!!

    Thursday, 9 June 2016, 3:02 pm
  • What is wrong with people. Like seriously. I don’t get it. Wtf. Why

    Thursday, 9 June 2016, 1:31 pm
  • He needs to stay in jail and rapped ?. Good job deputy

    Thursday, 9 June 2016, 10:04 am
  • Let’s just hope he is dealt some jailhouse Justice ,because we all know that he will get less of bond and jail sentence than someone possession of marijuana! Sad but true addicts belong in a hospital,scum like thT belongs in jail!!!!!

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:57 pm
  • Wow,devine intervention,how many times have we let our kids younger than that wonder around the store as we shop! Scary!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:46 pm
  • He needs a good dermatologist!

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:13 pm
  • That poor girl – he was dragging her by her hair – pray she doesn’t get badly emotionally scarred

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:18 pm
  • Hey Foodforthought, you still using Lead Bullets? Lol

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 2:52 pm
  • What in the world was this guy thinking! It blows my mind that this is even real.
    Bravo to the mother who delayed the capture and for the officer off duty to apprehend this nut job..

    Hopefully they can get a search warrant of his house and it will determine more criminal evidence for a higher charge. They need to get him off the streets for life! What a creep.

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 1:55 pm
  • Where were all the people in the store? Why didn’t anyone help this mom? Thank God the office was near.

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 1:44 pm
  • Just more area dirt bags, This state is full of them.

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 1:18 pm
  • He was determined to take this girl with him, very brazen. Makes me wonder if he had been watching her for awhile and stalking, waiting for his opportunity. I just hope he is locked up for a long time because if he gets the chance he will try this again. This girl could have easily been taken out of the store and found dead later. This guy has a serious problem.

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:08 am
  • Two words. Concealed Carry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:36 am
  • Is he in Citrus County Jail or Hernando County ? ??

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 12:19 am
    • considering hernando is a city in citrus, probably citrus jail

      Thursday, 9 June 2016, 5:46 pm
  • Are you effin serious? That whacko had to be high on something .

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 9:59 pm
  • Wow. God was watching over here. This is amazing.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 9:36 pm
  • Wow! The world is gonna end soon

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 9:25 pm
  • He will probably plead to attempted kidnapping, and when he gets out, he will do it again.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 8:38 pm
  • GREAT JOB DEPUTY, It just sucks that the judge is going to set some bullsh*t bail and this guy will be back on the street before the paperwork is done.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 8:09 pm
  • Seems as the sickos are crawling out of the woodwork in every county, great job deputies and thank god the mother hung on to her Think channel 13 said charges are kidnapping and child molestation. Also said he wouldn’t be out for a long time. Yep the molesters, rapists, now kidnappers out in force everywhere. Kudos Citrus county, good job to all. Hero of the day deputy Behnen and the poor mother.?

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 7:28 pm
  • Amazing this happening in public with video cameras, just watched it on the news. Thank goodness the deputy was there. Great job!

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 7:04 pm
  • try that with my daughters and he would be getting a fatal overdose of lead.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 6:57 pm
  • Thank God the mother was paying attention and was able to stop this sicko from taking her child!! Good work by all involved!!

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 6:54 pm
  • Outstanding job deputy Behnen my hat off to you and the CCSO great job wasn’t for you this girl could have been killed

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 6:30 pm
  • Fantastic job today to everyone. Now lets hope that scum gets what he deserves

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 5:45 pm
  • amen that off duty deputy did awesome and a good reason deputies using the cruisers off duty is a big help!

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 5:34 pm
  • Thank God he was there at that moment. We really have to watch our kids. Good job everyone involved. Definitely a miracle.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 5:26 pm
  • Great job, Dep. Behnen!!

    Stay safe and know your bravery and quick action, saved a life and is deeply appreciated!

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 5:08 pm
  • that’s so freakin’ scary! thank God he’s behind bars!

    Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 5:02 pm

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