Florida Sheriff Says Man Kidnapped 17-Year-Old Girl To Drive Him Through Coronavirus Checkpoint


A Florida man was arrested last week for kidnapping a teen and forcing her to drive him and a woman through a coronavirus checkpoint.

According to the Miami Herald, 37-year-old Alexander Michael Sardinas, of Tavernier, and 43-year-old Michelle Lynne Peterson, of Islamorada, attempted to enter the Florida Keys in a taxi on Thursday morning.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Keys have been closed off to non-residents. Lacking any paperwork indicating they lived or worked there, Sardinas and Peterson were turned away at the highway checkpoint.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says that a Florida Highway Patrol trooper saw the pair arguing and gave them a “courtesy ride” to Florida City.

From there, Sardinas and Peterson came to a Publix supermarket in Homestead. There, they approached their unnamed teen victim near her car, which had both a hurricane re-entry sticker on her windshield and a Monroe County license plate.

The sheriff’s office says Sardinas threatened to harm the teen if she did not drive the pair through the checkpoint into the Keys or if she touched her cell phone.

The teen complied with Sardinas’ demands and drove him and Peterson to the highway checkpoint, where she passed through with her driver’s license.

“The victim told detectives she did not say anything to deputies at the checkpoint about the man in the car threatening to harm her because she was scared,” the sheriff’s spokesperson told the Herald.

After dropping off her kidnappers and leaving the scene unharmed, the teen told a family member who called the police.

Detectives found Sardinas not far from where the victim dropped him off. They found Peterson nearby in Islamorada.

Sardinas is charged with one count of kidnapping and is being held in county jail on a $50,000 bond, the Herald reports. As of this writing, Peterson has not been arrested, though the sheriff’s spokesperson says more arrests and charges may be pending.

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