A 37-year-old man from Florida was arrested on May 21 after kidnapping a 17-year-old girl and forcing her to drive him through a CCP virus highway checkpoint, according to a news release issued by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am relieved this suspect is currently sitting in jail and the young victim in this case was not seriously hurt. I want to thank and commend my staff as well as our partners at the Florida Highway Patrol for quickly putting two and two together that resulted in a quick arrest,” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
As indicated by the Sheriff’s Office, Alexander Michael Sardinas, a 37-year-old man from Tavernier and a 43-year-old woman from Islamorada, were trying to enter the Florida Keys in a rideshare taxi when they were turned away due to a lack of identification or paperwork required at the checkpoint.
“Shortly thereafter, a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper responded to a domestic argument occurring on the side of U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 113. The Trooper gave Sardinas and the woman a courtesy ride to Florida City,” the news release stated.
However, the pair—Sardinas and the woman—made their way to the Publix supermarket on Campbell Road in Homestead, which was where Sardinas approached the 17-year-old girl. The pair made their way over to the 17-year-old girl in the parking lot and then ordered the 17-year-old girl to drive the two of them to Tavernier.
The 17-year-old revealed to the detectives that Sardinas threatened to hurt her if she refused, according to the news release. The 17-year-old also said that Sardinas would hurt her if she used her phone, as well.
“The victim drove south to the checkpoint at Mile Marker 112.5 where she provided her driver’s license with a Florida Keys address. The victim told detectives she did not say anything to deputies at the checkpoint about the man in the car threatening to harm her, because she was scared,” the news release stated.
The 17-year-old then kept on going south towards a gas station located near the Mile Marker 92 where Sardinas got out of the car, the news release stated. The other woman in the car then ordered the 17-year-old to drive her to a pharmacy located in Tavenier, and when they got to the pharmacy, the 43-year-old woman got out of the car and left.
The 17-year-old then immediately contacted a relative, who contacted law enforcement, the release stated.
The investigation was conducted by the Major Crimes Unit.
“The FHP Trooper heard the be-on-the-lookout on the radio and recognized the descriptions of Sardinas and the female as the pair he had drove to Florida City earlier that day. He identified both over the radio. Deputies and Detectives searched the area near Mile Marker 92 and soon had Sardinas in custody. The female formerly with Sardinas was found shortly thereafter on Navajo Street in Islamorada,” the Sheriff’s Office stated.
Both Sardinas and the 43-year-old were arrested, and when interviewed, they gave conflicting stories of how the two met the 17-year-old. However, neither of them denied being in the car with the 17-year-old, according to the news release.
Sardinas was taken to jail after the 17-year-old identified him in a lineup. More arrests and charges are pending for the case.