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Man Kidnaps Girlfriend When She Tries to Dump Him


Lake City, Fla., LCPD: On Friday, December 1, 2017, at approximately 5:15pm the Lake City Police Department responded to Hip Hop Chicken in Lake City after a woman ran inside screaming for someone to call 911. Arriving officers found the victim inside the restaurant. She stated that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint by her former boyfriend in Duval County and forced to drive to Lake City after she attempted to end their relationship.

According to the victim, she had been dating the suspect later identified as Steven Cline (8/13/1976) for about nine months, and she was currently living with him. She told investigators she went to the home earlier this afternoon to gather belongings she had packed and notify him she was leaving. She stated Cline got into an argument with her and punched her in the face, causing her nose to bleed. He then told her to drive him to Lake City because he had heard about the Hip Hop Chicken and Fish restaurant, and wanted to try it.

When the victim refused, Cline allegedly displayed a revolver and demanded she drive him immediately. She complied and the two began driving on Interstate 10 towards Lake City. The victim told investigators she intentionally drove erratically on the trip, hoping to catch attention of law enforcement. According to the victm, at one point while driving Cline took the victim’s purse and emptied it into his backpack, including her money, identification, and cell phone.

Investigators also learned that a mutual acquaintance of the suspect and victim, Jason Armetta (7/30/1980), was in the vehicle for the trip. While interviewing Armetta, he stated he had overheard part of the argument between Cline and the victim, but was trying not to get involved. He stated he heard Cline demand a ride to Lake City, but did not see the firearm. Armetta did tell investigators that he knows Cline to own a firearm that matched the description of the gun the victim claimed Cline showed her.

The victim stated she tried to jump out of the vehicle at least once during the drive after getting off the Interstate, and Cline told her not to. She said as soon as she parked at Hip Hop, she jumped out of the car and ran inside. Witness accounts from the scene indicated she was in distress and screaming for help as she ran inside to get someone to call 911.

Responding officers were informed Cline was seen entering the nearby Family Dollar where they located him hiding in the restroom. He was restrained and arrested without resistance. No firearm was located at the scene, and a K9 team from the Florida Wildlife Commission assisted with a search of the surrounding area without success.

“[The victim] thought quickly on her feet by running for help as soon as she could,” said Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore.

This is exactly the sort of action taught by LCPD’s Rape Aggression Defense course: a female-only self-defense class taught by the Police Department. Crime Prevention Officer Andrew Mangrum, one of the Department’s RAD Instructors, says the main goal of a kidnapping victim is to escape.

“According to our curriculum, the best advice if you are being or have been kidnapped is to avoid trying to confront force with direct force. Try to stay calm and don’t panic, and as soon as possible, separate yourself from the situation by disengaging and running away,” says Mangrum.

Cline was arrested at the scene and charged with Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault/Domestic Violence, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. He was transported to the Columbia County Jail where he currently remains on a $205,000.00 bond.

The firearm allegedly used in this crime has not yet been located despite multiple days of exhaustive searching by LCPD Officers. Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact Investigator Kevin Johns at (386)758-5471. If anyone comes in contact with an unattended firearm in the area of this incident is urged not to touch it, and call 9-1-1

Arrested: Steven Cline
Race/Sex: White / Male
Date of Birth: 8/13/1976 (41)
Address: 115 E 4th St Jacksonville, FL 32206
Charges: -Aggravated Assault
w/ a Deadly Weapon
(Domestic Violence)
-Robbery w/ a Firearm
-Possession of a Firearm
By a Convicted Felon