NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Queens woman was held hostage inside her own home.
Police say her horrifying experience all started with the attempted kidnapping of a young girl.
“You see it on TV, you see it on movies, but you don’t think it could happen to you in real life,” the woman told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
A traumatized 61-year-old elementary school teacher walked CBS2 through her home on 104th Avenue in Jamaica, where she was held hostage by a strange man Monday evening.
She was too fearful to show her face, but tells Bauman she was home alone around 5:30 p.m. when the man snuck up behind her in the living room.
“I turned my body around and there was this hand around my neck and he had a knife in his hand.”
She said he dragged her to the kitchen, knife up to her neck and began barricading the back door with her microwave, water bottles, and cans – whatever he could find.
“He kept moving me back and forth… speaking in Spanish several times, but I don’t know what he’s saying… only part I understood is ‘no policia, no policia.’”
Then the victim said he dragged her to the front door, still clutching her around the neck and with his other arm used her shoe rack and tables to barricade the front door.
“I kept saying in English ‘relax, relax, what do you want?’ I asked ‘do you want money?’ but he’s not responding to any of my questions in English.”
Police were already on the woman’s block. Neighbors had called 911 minutes earlier when they saw that same man trying to kidnap a three-year-old girl from her mother on the sidewalk – before the man gave up and ran behind some houses.
“The mom was screaming, crying, she was hysterical,” another witness told CBS2.
Back inside, the teacher could see police through her window.
“When he pulled the curtain I’m showing signals. The police are all standing out there, but they can’t see clearly what was going on,” the 61-year-old explained.
So as the man kept throwing things to block her door, still holding her around her neck, the teacher took a risk to save her life.
“That’s when I had the instinct to open the door and he pushed it quickly, but my sleeve got stuck… The cops were standing right there, they saw it open quickly, he pushed it but the jacket sleeve got stuck and that’s when they came in.”
Police saw her sparkly white jacket outside the front door and then came in to arrest the suspect.
Lester Augusto is charged with kidnapping, burglary, and menacing. Sources say the 29-year-old was visibly intoxicated when police took him into custody and he’s now being questioned for other possible crimes in the area.