HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) — An accused armed kidnapper is behind bars, after his victim made a crucial call, which lead to the man’s arrest.
Priscilla Cercone walked outside her house to get the mail from her mailbox Tuesday evening, but as she went through the mail in her car, someone armed with a gun walked up to her, got into the back seat of her vehicle and forced her to drive to a Chase bank in Hollywood. "He has a gun pointed at me, and he said, ‘If you don’t do what I say, I’ll kill you,’" Cercone said.
However, at least she had her husband on the phone with her.
Leon Henry, Cercone’s husband, took 7News through the encounter. "She screamed, and when I heard that scream, I said, ‘Baby, baby,’ and I don’t hear her, I said something’s wrong," said Henry.
As the ordeal was occurring, Cercone’s husband, listened in via her Bluetooth headset, which she didn’t properly hang up, but that mistake may have saved her life. "’Open the effing door and don’t scream,’ so when I heard that I said, ‘My wife is in danger,’" said Henry. "I hang up, call 911."
Once at the bank, the alleged armed man told Cercone to withdraw $400 at the bank before instructing her to drive back to her home. "I didn’t even know if I had my bank card with me," Cercone said.
Cercone followed the crook’s instructions, and as they headed home from the bank, police were on Lincoln Street, waiting to intercept the criminal. When the gunman saw the police cruisers, he bailed out onto the street and attempted to run away. Cercone also jumped out of the vehicle. "He threw the gun or something because they had to go and find it," Cercone said. "They got him."
Police were able to catch up with their suspect and made the arrest. "Whatever is the max, I want the max for him," Cercone said.
Twenty-one-year-old Bernard Owens is now in jail. He was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
"I want justice, you know. What if it was your mom?" said the victim’s son, Carlos Cercone. "What if it was someone you knew? What if that was the case? Would you still do it for $400?"
Cercone is thankful she had her husband on the other line. "Always carry your phone, always carry somebody on your ear," she said through tears. "Wherever you go, tell them where you are going."