A Florida man was in jail Saturday after he allegedly kidnapped a 17-year-old girl and ordered her to get him through a lockdown checkpoint in South Florida, authorities said.
Alexander Michael Sardinas, 37, was arrested on suspicion of felony false imprisonment, according to inmate records from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The office said Sardinas and a companion, identified as a 43-year-old woman who lives in the Florida Keys, tried to get through the checkpoint in a ride-hail vehicle Friday but were rejected.
The mainland checkpoint leads to the Keys, which have been off limits to visitors since March 22 in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Sardinas approached the teen at a market in Homestead and threatened violence if she didn’t take the pair through the nearby checkpoint, sheriff’s officials said. The girl’s vehicle had a sticker indicating she is a resident of the Keys, they said.
“Sardinas threatened to hurt the victim if she refused,” the sheriff’s office said. “Sardinas threatened to hurt the victim if she touched her cell phone.”
The teen drove the couple to the checkpoint, showed her identification with a Keys address and was allowed to pass, authorities said. She did not report the situation at the checkpoint because she was frightened, they said.
Once dropped off, the girl told a family member what happened and authorities were notified, the sheriff’s office said.
A Florida Highway Patrol officer recognized the description of Sardinas and his companion and was able to provide more detail because he gave the pair a “courtesy ride” on the mainland Friday after they were first rejected at the checkpoint, the sheriff’s office said.
After law enforcement found the pair at separate locations, the teenager identified Sardinas as her kidnapper, officials said. The companion was not arrested but “more arrests and charges may be pending,” the sheriff’s office said.
Sardinas, who was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, made it to the Keys: He was being held in “unit A” of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office jail facility there, according to inmate records.
A court hearing was scheduled for June 9.