Woman Charged in Attempted Abduction Caught on Camera - NECN
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Woman Charged in Attempted Abduction Caught on Camera

(Published Monday, Oct. 12, 2015)

Police arrested a suspect in the attempted kidnapping and sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl who jumped out of a moving car in Bridgeport, Connecticut, last week to get away.

Officers arrested Towanna Randall, a 38-year-old New Haven resident, on Saturday night. She has been charged with sexual assault and reckless endangerment.

Bridgeport police began investigating after responding to the corner of Boston and Palisade avenues in Bridgeport at 7:15 a.m. Oct. 5 to investigate reports of an attempted abduction and found the teenage girl.

She told police she had been walking to school on Boston Avenue when a charcoal-gray Toyota Corolla approached her and the driver lured her into the car, then attacked her, police said.

Police later released video surveillance of the incident, which has aired on television news reports nationwide. It shows what appears to be a teenage girl open the door of a moving four-door sedan and tumble out.

It also shows the driver make a U-turn, double back on the opposite side of the road, then keep going.

The video was captured by the city's Safe Corridors program, which was established by the Bridgeport school board and police department.

"The program creates blocks-long perimeters around Bridgeport schools that are marked and monitored by police, trained volunteers and cameras," police said.

Tips led investigators to find the car believed to be involved on Thursday, police said during a news conference and officers charged Randal with third-degree sexual assault, first-degree unlawful restraint and second-degree reckless endangerment.

"This arrest is a testament to the talented and hardworking police officers and detectives in the Bridgeport Police Department," Bridgeport Assistant Police Chief James Nardozzi said in a statement over the weekend. "To make an arrest in this case so quickly really speaks to the around-the-clock efforts of our police force. I want to thank them for their great work. I would also like to thank the public for the numerous tips that aided our investigation."

Randall's bond was set at $100,000. She appear in court on Tuesday, where the judge increased her bond to $125,000 because she was previously arrested 15 times, including four felony arrests.

Randall was due to be on probation for four more years for a burglary conviction.

Police are still trying to figure out the motive, but said this is not Randall's first brush with the law.

She has "an extensive criminal record that includes robbery, larceny, and selling hallucinogenic narcotics," according to police.

Randall has hired an attorney, who said Randall just graduated from Gateway Community College.

She is due back in court on Nov. 3.

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