I-TEAM: Police say man impersonating officer kidnapped 14-year-old girl; victim able to escape

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CLEVELAND (WJW) -- The FOX 8 I-Team has learned a man is sitting in jail suspected of claiming to be a police officer and kidnapping a 14-year-old girl this week on her way home from Max Hayes High on Cleveland’s west side.

The teen escaped by jumping out of a moving vehicle. She told the I-Team, “And he said that he was the police. I was like, ‘Where you going?’ He said, ‘Put your head down, or I’ll kill you.”

Cleveland Second District detectives tracked down a suspect days later.

They have started filing charges against Adam Rodriguez.

Police say he is not an officer, and they are investigating him for more crimes.

The teen said he pulled up in his car, told her to get in because he’s a policeman, and then she jumped out of the car and ran into a stranger’s garage.

Melvina Williams had just started opening her garage door, and she said the child ran inside.

Williams told the I-Team, “And the door’s going up, and the little girl flew up under my door.” She added, “She was right there. ‘Help me, help me! Please, he’s trying to take me.’ I’m like, who?”

The kidnapper drove off, and the victim says he even had a siren and police lights in his car.

At first, all investigators had to go on was a description of a car. The kind often used by police. Later, officers found the car not far from the kidnapping scene. Ultimately, detectives identified a suspect.

Records show Rodriguez has been to prison and convicted multiple times for burglary and more.

The state says he also is being held in jail now for a parole violation.

Melvina Williams says she’s glad she happened to be at her garage to help at the right moment. She said, “God was watching over her. This was God. His hand was all over this. It’s all I can say.”

The victim was grateful for the stranger and the work of the detectives. She said, “Thank you for finding him.”

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