KENOSHA -- Kenosha police say 27-year-old Benjamin Spasogevich-Lee grabbed a young girl and started walking off with her. That is when neighbors jumped into action.
Spasogevich-Lee now faces the following criminal charges:
- Abduction of a child
- Disorderly conduct
According to the criminal complaint, multiple witnesses indicated to police that Spasogevich-Lee on Thursday evening, May 18th grabbed the young girl and "attempted to drag her away." The girl had been outside with other children at the time -- and an "older child grabbed and took (the girl) away from Spasogevich-Lee."
"I told her to get the little girl and I was going to get her parents," said Trinity Stout, a neighbor.
"They started coming up to me saying, 'Jada, Eli has Caylee. He has Caylee.' I started freaking out and I ran down there and grabbed her by her arm," said Jada Miller.
"I was so happy once they told me what happened. I was furious. But I settled down and called the cops," said Jeff Carr, the four-year-old girl's father.
"I'm proud of her. I'm happy about the other kid. I hope more communities can react like that; come together and be aware of what's going on," said Bernard Baynes, a neighbor.
Police were called to the scene and they spoke with the parents of the child. They identified Spasogevich-Lee as the man who attempted to abduct their daughter.
When Spasogevich-Lee was questioned by police in the moments after the alleged incident, he "introduced himself as 'Eli' or 'Elijah.' The defendant stated that he never touched anyone and wondered why the police were talking to him. The defendant kept making statements that he felt threatened."
After police indicated to Spasogevich-Lee that he was being taken into custody, he "admitted to saying something to (the girl) but stated that he never touched her."
The mother of the girl told police that "her past interactions with the defendant had not been good." The complaint indicates "for the last three weeks the defendant has constantly tried to come across the street from where he lives and attempt to speak, play, or engage with the children." The mother told officers she "warned the defendant many times to stay away but he continued to persist." The mother also indicated Spasogevich-Lee "has exhibited weird behaviors such as jumping around in his front yard with his shirt off, sitting on his front porch and curb, all the while staring at the children, and going up and down the sidewalk with a soccer ball asking the children to play."
Another witness indicated to police "she had witnessed the defendant do strange things, such as go outside and do yoga in his underwear." The witness also indicated "the defendant would often ask the children what grades they were in and what schools they were enrolled in."
After being taken into custody, investigators asked Spasogevich-Lee what he thought about a 27-year-old man grabbing a four-year-old's wrist. The complaint says the "defendant stated he would not answer that question and requested a lawyer."
Spasogevich-Lee appeared in court on Monday, May 22nd. The court ordered a competency hearing for him. Spasogevich-Lee is also ordered to have no contact with any child under the age of 18.
If convicted of the more serious abduction charge, Spasogevich-Lee faces up to 15 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.