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Suspected downtown kidnapper taken into custody

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ST. LOUIS - A suspected downtown kidnapper is taken into custody thanks to police work and 2 types of cameras.  Lavell Benford faces charges of assault, armed criminal action, and kidnapping after police say his crimes were caught on camera.

Police say it all started early Sunday morning at approximately 2 a.m. when the victim was getting into her parked car on the 900 block of Market St. in downtown St. Louis.  She said the suspect got into the car and pointed a gun at her, placed his hand on her leg and ordered her to drive.  Police say she tried to stop several times but was ordered to keep going.  She stopped at 18th and Market Streets and fought back.  Police say, Benford, with a gun in his hand, hit the victim’s head several times before running away.

“I would like to see more cameras,” said downtown worker Saraette McCulley.  “I think that would help out a lot with the crime downtown.”

According to probable cause statement from police, the crime was caught on a downtown surveillance camera.  Eventually, a license plate reading camera mounted inside a police cruiser identified the suspect’s vehicle and took him into custody.  Police allege Benford confessed to forcing the victim drive at gunpoint.

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