BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (LEX 18) — Officers have arrested a man in Kentucky who they say kidnapped a 75-year-old woman in Alabama and left her tied up in his closet.
The Calhoun County Sheriff's Office says 47-year-old Tony White was arrested Tuesday night in Richmond, one day after the woman was rescued by authorities. Details of the arrest are not known at this time.
Officers say they were notified Monday afternoon that a woman, Betty Cobb, was missing.
"As she went shopping, a person was prowling the parking lot and picked her out as a person he wanted to victimize," said Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade.
Sheriff Wade says the suspect followed her from store to store, and then followed her to her home. That's when authorities say he attacked her while she was unloading groceries, put her in the trunk of a car, and took her to his home in Anniston, Alabama.
The woman was found six hours later, allegedly bound in the closet of White's home.
The sheriff referred to this as an "all hands on deck" situation to locate her. Cobb was well-known in the area as a volunteer firefighter. She also drove an ambulance for many years in the community.
"All we knew was that her car was there, groceries were left in it, some items of hers were in the yard, some items of hers were scattered in the house... that's all we had," Sheriff Wade said. "How do you take that to finding her within six hours? It's an absolute miracle."
Investigators looked at security video from stores Cobb had visited to find the suspect's vehicle, leading authorities to investigate several homes linked to him. When they arrived at one of the homes, they found Cobb bound with duct tape in a closet.
"This is the stuff that horror movies are made from," Sheriff Wade said.
The sheriff says officers believe Cobb was targeted at random because she is elderly. They believe he targets this age group and say he may be linked to other kidnapping cases in 2012 and 2013. They plan to run his DNA in those cases to see if there's a match.
White is currently being held in the Madison County Detention Center. He will await extradition back to Alabama. An arraignment for White is scheduled for Friday morning.