ROSLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man has been charged with holding his girlfriend and her three male children in his car against their will with threats of violence.
Police said the woman was finally able to get help, without saying a word, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.
The mother, her 13-year-old boy and 3-year-old twins, both on the autistic spectrum, were locked in a black sedan that pulled into a Mobil station in Roslyn Heights, police said.
When the driver and suspect, 35-year-old Jamal Wilkinson of Ridge, walked into the station to buy a beer, the victim he had been dating held up a sign that read, “Please call 911. Call 911.”
And a good Samaritan at the gas station did just that.
“He told me, ‘A lady just flashed me a sign from the car she was sitting in that says, ‘Call 911,’ and he says in case cops show up don’t be worried. So I told him that was the best thing you could have done,” Mobil clerk Ganish Persaud said.
This all went down on Glen Cove Road and the north service road entrance to the Long Island Expressway, where dozens were pulling in for gas and food, including next door at the popular Kitchen Kabaret market.
The startled suspect was unable to flee as police rolled in within two minutes to interview the mother and children and make the arrest. Wilkinson was charged with four counts of unlawful imprisonment, endangering their welfare.
“I realized it was a serious situation,” Persaud said, adding when reminded he had an alleged hostage taker on the property, “Right and you don’t know whether he has a gun or what could happen. Pretty scary.”
Other service station patrons admired what the Samaritan did, saying he did exactly what he should have done.
“Thank God somebody saw the sign and believed her and called 911,” one person said.
“I would have called 911 and helped them,” another said.
“She’s holding a sign that says ‘I need help.’ I would go and help her and call 911,” another added.
The criminal complaint says, “He refused to let his girlfriend exit the vehicle by restraining her and her three children by threats of violence.”
Wilkinson pleaded not guilty and was held on $50,000 bond.
If he makes bond, he has been ordered by the judge to stay away from the victim and her children.