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Long IslandCrime

Roosevelt woman charged after trying to abduct girl, cops say

Lela Witts of Roosevelt was arrested Monday on charges of second-degree kidnapping and second-degree unlawful imprisonment after police said that she tried to abduct a Bethpage woman's 6-year-old daughter from a tax preparation office in Freeport. On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, the mother, who asked not to be identified, recounted the incident.  Credit: News 12 Long Island / News 12 Long Island

A Roosevelt woman pulled a 6-year-old girl from a Freeport tax office in an abduction attempt fought off by the child’s mother, Nassau police said Tuesday.

Lela Witts, 20, was arrested moments after the incident Monday and arraigned Tuesday on charges of second-degree kidnapping and second-degree unlawful imprisonment, police said.

The girl’s mother said the suspect twice pulled her daughter from the office and into the street. Both times — amid the wind and rain of Monday’s nor’easter — they ended up struggling on the sidewalk, the girl’s mother said.

“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.”

She said she did not know the suspect and that they both were getting their taxes done when the woman walked up to her daughter.

The girl was holding the family’s Yorkie at the time, and initially the mother thought the woman wanted the dog. That was the question the mother said she asked the woman as they tussled and rolled around on the sidewalk and her daughter shouted, “Get off.”

“I asked her, ‘What do you want? You want the dog? Take it,’ ” the mother said. “She said, ‘I want your daughter.’ ”

The mother said she overcame the woman and was able to rush back into the tax office with her daughter. The second time, workers pulled the girl back into the office and locked the door while the mother fought with the woman outside.

The fight ended when the suspect ran to a diner across the street, the mother said, adding that she and a witness followed and called police.

A temporary order of protection was issued against Witts, who was held pending a bail of $100,000.

The mother said she and her daughter were not seriously injured. Now she warns people to watch their children and not let them go alone anywhere. She said, “Hold your kids like they’re made of gold.”


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