PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (December 17, 2019) — The parking lot of the Walmart located on Murdock Circle in Port Charlotte turned into a crime scene when a boyfriend tried to kidnap his girlfriend. Witnesses told police that the victim was hanging out of the car as the man drove across the parking lot. According to a news report appearing online on nbc-2.com, the alleged incident transpired around 1:00 a.m. A store employee called for emergency help after observing the terrifying scene play out, and now the driver of the car is behind bars. He faces charges of false imprisonment as well as battery charges. 

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department thanked an alert and concerned Walmart employee who called for help to save the woman from further harm. The employee looked on as the driver of the vehicle began circling the Walmart parking lot with the woman, later determined to be the driver’s girlfriend, to be handing out of the car. According to the witness, the woman screamed for someone to help her. The woman also screamed for her attacker to let her go.

As the Walmart employee called 911, the woman managed to free herself from her boyfriend’s clutches. She ran into the store, seeking safety. According to the police report, the vehicle operator drove out of the parking lot but eventually returned to locate the woman. Charlotte County deputies apprehended the man at that time and placed him under arrest. The deputies investigating the incident that the woman refused to press charges against her boyfriend out of fear of retribution. The woman sustained an injury to her knee in the altercation. Authorities did not state whether the woman required medical attention.

The Charlotte County Sheriff lauded the concerned citizen who altered police to the domestic incident, which occurred in the Walmart parking lot. The sheriff’s department indicated that being alert might help you or another person survive a dangerous situation.

Kidnapping Charges in Florida

Kidnapping itself is a misleading term. Kidnapping conjures thoughts of taking a child or holding another against his or her will while demanding a ransom payment. However, Most kidnapping or false imprisonment charges arise during domestic disputes. 

Notwithstanding, the Florida legislature intended for the charge to apply more broadly. As such, kidnapping applies to any situation in which the person used either force or the threat of force, secretly acted to confine, hold, or abduct a person against his or her will without legal authority to do so. Kidnapping applies to situations in which the actor physically harms, terrorizes, holds for ransom, or holds the victim to help commit another felony.

Kidnapping is a felony in the first degree pursuant to 2019 Florida Statutes Chapter 787.01(2). A person convicted of a first-degree felony in Florida faces an incarcerated sentence of any term of years up to and including life. Also, the sentence for aggravated kidnapping is a mandatory life sentence. 

Aggravated kidnapping charges could be filed against a defendant for allegedly kidnapping a child thirteen years of age or younger and who abuses the child, commits sexual battery on the child, commits lewd or lascivious acts on the child, who involves the child in prostitution, or who exploits or allows the child to be exploited.