A stranger trying to snatch a little girl from an office.
The child’s mother trading blows with the kidnapper outside — a desperate try to save her daughter amid the wind and rain of a nor’easter.
It might have all sounded like the plot of a TV cop show but Nassau police said what transpired Monday night at a Freeport tax office was far from make-believe.
Two days later, Lela Witts, 20, of Roosevelt, remained in Nassau County jail on a $100,000 bail after she allegedly yanked the girl from the Liberty Tax Services office in an abduction that might have succeeded, if not for the child’s mother.
“I was like choking her and threatening her like she was going to die today,” said the Bethpage mother, 30, who asked not to be named. “Since she was acting crazy, I was going to act crazy with her.”
The girl’s mother said the suspect twice pulled her daughter from the office and into the street about 8:30 p.m. Monday. Both times — amid the wind and rain of the storm — they tusseled, first inside and then on the sidewalk, the mother said.
She did not know the suspect, the parent said, and they both were getting their taxes done when the woman walked up to her daughter.
The mother said that as she spoke to someone a few feet away, an office worker loudly demanded of Witts, “Where are you going with that little girl?”
The 6-year-old did not utter a word, later saying she was too frightened, the mother said.
Witts was already out the door, the mother said, and a tug of war ensued over the girl.
Her daughter was holding the family’s Yorkie at the time, and initially the mother thought the woman wanted the dog.
“I asked her, ‘What do you want? You want the dog? Take it,’ ” the mother said. “She said, ‘I want your daughter.’ ”
With her daughter crying, “Get off,” and trying to kick the stranger, the mother said she overcame the woman and was able to rush back into the tax office with her child.
But Witts came back in, the mother said, as the two fought on the sidewalk again, office workers pulled the girl inside and locked the door.
It felt like a life-or-death match, the mother said, and if she lost, “I probably would never have seen my daughter again.”
The fight ended when the suspect ran to a diner across the street and rushed into the restroom, the mother said, adding that she and a witness followed and called police.
Witts was arrested moments after the incident and arraigned Tuesday on charges of second-degree kidnapping and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. Her relatives could not be reached for comment; she was represented by Legal Aid, which has a policy of not commenting early in the case.
Now, the girl’s mother warns parents to watch their children and not let them go alone anywhere: “Hold your kids like they’re made of gold.”