Crime

Las Vegas man allegedly flew to Kentucky and tried to kidnap girl in school parking lot

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A Las Vegas man was arrested Monday after he flew to Kentucky with hopes of convincing a high schooler to have sex with him, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

Benjamin Margitza, 18, flew from Las Vegas to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Saturday night to make contact with a girl he met online about four years ago, according to the sheriff’s office. Margitza and the victim had a minimal amount of communication until recently, when he had contacted her, making explicit, sexual statements and telling her he wanted to marry her, the sheriff’s office said.

Without the victim knowing, Margitza traveled to Northern Kentucky, where he knew she went to school at Conner High School. He found the victim in the school parking lot Monday and grabbed her arm, according to the sheriff.

The girl screamed and began running away but Margitza followed her. A male student then intervened by not allowing Margitza to follow the victim any further, the sheriff said.

The victim made contact with a school resource officer and Margitza was found by the officer trying to leave the school in the back of an Uber, the sheriff’s office said.

Lt. Philip Ridgell told WCPO the victim, a 16-year-old, was petrified by the encounter.

“And rightfully so,” Ridgell told the TV station. “She was trembling — very shaken.”

Margitza told detectives he would have continued to follow the victim had the male student not stopped him, according to the sheriff’s office. He said it was his intent to convince the girl to have sex with him once he got back to his hotel, the sheriff said.

Margitza met the girl on a now-defunct app called Flinch, according to WCPO. They later exchanged contact information before Margitza began obsessing over her. The girl subsequently blocked him on Instagram and changed her number, WCPO reported.

Cheyenne Bayne, a friend of the victim, told FOX 19 she and the victim’s best friend were also followed on Instagram.

“I remember actually seeing where he was like, ‘I’m flying from Las Vegas, I’m going to stay at the Marriott’ which was nearby in Hebron, and then she was like ‘what do I do?’ and it came down to him showing up at school,” said Bayne, who added that she never thought it was real or that he would fly from Las Vegas to meet the girl.

Margitza was charged with attempted kidnapping and criminal trespassing. He was placed in the Boone County Detention Center.

Ridgell told WLWT Margitza did not have any criminal history. The lieutenant credited the male classmate for stepping in.

“He didn’t ask questions, he just acted and we’re thankful that he did,” Ridgell told WLWT.

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