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Hernando County man arrested for hiding under car, kidnapping former partner

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Posted at 9:15 AM, Mar 10, 2022

A Hernando County man was arrested after deputies say he hid under a car and kidnapped a woman they called his former domestic partner.

On Tuesday just before 8 p.m., Hernando County Sheriff's deputies responded to a home in Webster for a possible kidnapping call. Someone had called 911 to report a woman had been kidnapped.

Witnesses told deputies the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Kenneth Lengel-Stage, was hiding under the woman's car. When she got into the car, he reportedly entered through the front passenger door and started a fight with the woman.

Deputies say Lengel-Stage removed the woman from the driver's seat to the back seat, then drove away at a high rate of speed with the woman still in the back seat.

Patrol deputies and K-9 teams surrounded the area in an effort to locate the woman's vehicle. The HCSO Aviation Unit responded as well, to provide support from the air.

A deputy on scene at the residence was able to reach the woman by phone. She told the deputy she did not know where she was and that Lengel-Stage was refusing to stop and let her out. The deputy could hear the suspect in the background yelling at her and telling her if law enforcement approached them he would flee.

Eventually, the woman was able to convince Lengel-Stage to let her out of the vehicle; however, she still did not know where she was. She told the deputy she could hear the sirens "off in the distance" but they were not close.

At about the same time, the HCSO Aviation Unit spotted the woman's car in the area of Bertram Road and Lovebird Lane in Brooksville. Lengel-Stage had been driving without lights on so it was harder to find the car.

Ground units were able to capture Lengel-Stage and arrest him. He was charged with False Imprisonment, Domestic Battery, Grand Theft Auto, Carjacking, and knowingly driving with a suspended license.

The Investigation revealed that Lengel-Stage is currently on felony probation for similar charges. Deputies say the previous incident happened about a year ago. As a result of the violation of probation, he will be held on a no-bond status.