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Felon accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend

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The Aviation Unit of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) helped locate a man accused of kidnapping his former domestic partner. At the time of his arrest, the alleged kidnapper was on felony probation in connection with a similar incident that had taken place about a year ago.

HCSO Media Relations Manager Denise M. Moloney said that just before 8 p.m. on March 8, deputies responded to a 911 call from a residence in Webster in Hernando County that a woman had been kidnapped.

Witnesses at the scene told deputies that the woman’s former domestic partner, Kenneth Lengel-Stage was hiding under her vehicle. When the woman got into the driver’s seat, Lengel-Stage jumped into the passenger’s seat, started a physical altercation with the woman, forced her into the back seat, and sped off.

Personnel from the HCSO patrol, K-9 and aviation units all took part in the search for the victim’s vehicle.

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When a deputy finally was able to contact the victim by phone, she said that she did not know where she was and that Lengel-Stage refused to stop and let her out of the vehicle.

“The deputy could hear Lengel-Stage in the background yelling at the victim and telling her if law enforcement approached them he would flee,” Moloney said.

At about the same time, the HCSO Aviation unit piloted by Deputy Pilot Roy McLaughlin and Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) B.J. Hart spotted the victim’s vehicle in the area of Bertram Road and Lovebird Lane in Brooksville.

When it was found Lengel-Stage was operating the vehicle without its lights on, in an effort to evade capture, Moloney said.

Meanwhile, TFO Hart saw the woman get out of the vehicle while her suspected kidnapper drove away.

She was physically unhurt in the incident.

Hart then directed ground units to both the woman and to the suspect who appeared to be having a hard time finding his way out of the area.

Deputies subsequently arrested 23-year old Kenneth Lengel-Stage and charged him with false imprisonment, domestic battery, grand theft auto, carjacking, and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Upon further investigation, deputies also learned that Lengel-Stage is currently on felony probation in connection with an incident that occurred about a year ago. Due to that probation violation, he is being held without bond.

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