published: Saturday, November 02, 2013
HCSO: Man who tried to kidnap jogger is in jail
AVON PARK — A man investigators say tried to force a female jogger into his car at gunpoint in October got an unwanted ride of his own on Friday.
Angel Santiago-Velez, 37, of 636 Barberry Loop in Avon Park, was arrested Friday by members of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Team and the Criminal Investigations Unit in connection with the attempted abduction of a female who was jogging in the area of Walmart in Avon Park on Oct. 4.
The intended victim was jogging at approximately 6 a.m. in the vicinity Walmart in Avon Park when she noticed a car following her, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office reported.
She continued running along Shop 16 Road, on the north end of the parking lot, when the car pulled up beside her, the driver aimed a gun at her and ordered her into the car.
Instead, she escaped to the nearby Bill Jarrett Ford dealership at 1305 U.S. 27 N., which had opened early.
When deputies arrived, she described the car as a silver, four-door Nissan Altima sedan and described the driver as a heavy-set Hispanic man between 20-40 years old with a deep voice.
She described the gun as a gray or black semi-automatic pistol.
Through further investigation, detectives were able to identify Santiago-Velez and he was arrested and charged with attempted armed kidnapping and aggravated assault with a firearm at around 9 p.m. Friday. Santiago-Velez is currently being held in the Highlands County Jail under no bond.
Highlands County hasn’t had many incidents like this one in recent years, said Maj. David Paeplow, head of the Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Bureau.
“It’s quite unusual to have a ‘real’ abduction event,” Paeplow said. “This has been an isolated incident, so far.”
Paeplow acknowledged that typical abduction incidents, if any, center around domestic disputes or custody battles. In this case, he said it was fortunate the owners of Bill Jarrett Ford had opened early. The jogger also could have sought safety at Walmart — open 24 hours.
Any time a jogger is out at a late or early hour, when businesses are closed, he said it helps to run where other people — and potential help — are nearby.
White said when she first started running, she would hear about this in bigger cities, such as Port St. Lucie, but never in Highlands County. A cousin there used to tell her to run carrying pepper or other weapons.
Paeplow said it’s safer to run from an assailant in a car — especially in the opposite direction a car is headed — rather than get pulled inside.
“You are in much greater danger (once) in the car. You are much better off to try and flee,” Paeplow said.
eye for an eye (by: Mr. Davidson - 11/3/2013)
Way to go HCSO thank you Bill Jarret .. Scum of the earth is out on bond...Too bad this is not the old wild wild west................
Suspect (by: Kent Steele - 11/3/2013)
The suspect was described as a heavy-set Hispanic man between 20-40 years old with a deep voice and wearing lipstick.
So Sad (by: Can't tell you, they will start pulling me over - 11/2/2013)
I guess zipped lips for the sake of the investigation is more important than the public being made aware this happened on Oct 4th. I guess pure luck kept us the general public safe while this predator was waiting to grab my little girl or yours. If I was a City Official I'd be OUTRAGED over this.
He is out already (by: A runner - 11/2/2013)
I hear this $?!$@&$ is out on bail already. Our criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens. I hope he is convicted and serves time.
Thank you HCSO (by: AP resident - 11/2/2013)
Thank you to the HCSO detectives for getting this man behind bars. You are an amazing team and I am grateful for all your diligence in this case. Keep up the good work in serving and protecting. God bless and be with you.
Highlands County's Finest (by: Blindman~ - 11/2/2013)
Congratulations to Sheriff Benton and all of Highlands County's Finest for catching this guy.
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