The Dollar General is busy with shoppers, including parents with their children.
It was the same scene Tuesday when a mother and her 13-year-old daughter were inside and experienced
something so hard to imagine.
Now Citrus County Sheriff’s Jeff Dawsy is crediting that mother for saving her child.
“Mom was on him. He was getting his butt kicked by mom. That was one of the refreshing things that you saw in that video,” said Dawsy.
It happened in an instant.
Investigators said it’s obvious from the surveillance video, Craig Bonello knew what he was doing, even stretching before he grabbed
a 13-year-old girl and tried to drag her out of the store.
Her shirt was torn during the struggle.
“You can tell he searched out the victim. He stretched and then he went after that child with terrible, terrible motives,” said Dawsy.
Off duty Deputy Jonathan Behnen, happened to be driving up to the Dollar General to pick up cleaning supplies, when he saw the commotion.
He said Bonello was trying to drive away, but he chased him down.
“It’s sad that we have people like that in this society and I’m glad that it worked out the way that it did,” he said.
Bonello’s been arrested plenty of time before on gun charges and aggravated assault, but he was not a registered sex offender.
Bonello’s next door neighbors couldn’t believe it when I showed the surveillance video for the first time.
They said he’d been renting this house for just a few months, and was best known in the area for being anti-social and having a over abundance of trash.
“Just a strange little guy who lives by himself,” said Debra Bugner.
“We leave the garage door open until 9 or 10 night. Not anymore,” said Mike Bugner.
The Sheriff’s office said Bonello actually admitted that he’d done this before. They didn’t find anyone after searching his Hernando home.
They have not been able to validate those claims.
They said Bonello wouldn’t tell them what he planned to do with the girl if he’d gotten away.