28-Year-Old Man Was Arrested One Week After His Kidnap Victim Brittany Diggs Used Her Insulin Pump To Escape From His Trunk.
A man recently freed from prison in Alabama is accused of abducting a woman whose dramatic escape from her car trunk was captured on video.
See Video Below.
Birmingham police announced Wednesday night that 28-year-old Manuel Ali Towns has been charged with kidnapping and robbery in the abduction of 25-year-old Brittany Diggs earlier this month. Towns was detained Tuesday.
Authorities say Towns abducted Diggs and made her drive around before putting her in the car trunk.
She escaped by opening an interior trunk latch.
Surveillance cameras at a gas station convenience store captured images of her tumbling from the trunk.
Al.com reports that records show Towns was freed from prison in January after serving more than five years for marijuana possession.
His record includes robbery arrests dating back more than a decade.
In 2005, Towns pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with three years to serve. That robbery happened in 2005.
Towns in 2006 pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree robbery in a case from 2004. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with one year to serve, court records show.
Towns is now charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery in the March 14 abduction. He is also charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. His bond is set at $500,000.
Birmingham police on Wednesday night said that once they released a picture seeking the identity of the suspect, tips started coming in and investigators began working to identify the suspect.
Once positive identification was made, the suspect’s information was handed over to the department’s Crime Reduction Team, who were tasked with finding him.
‘This was truly a complex, multi-faceted investigation and I am extremely proud of the various BPD units that worked around the clock to get this suspect behind bars,’ said Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper. ‘This victim deserves justice and the peace of mind in knowing he’ll face a Criminal Judge for his actions. Our streets are safer with him behind bars.’
Last week, Diggs spoke about the terrifying incident.
In an interview with the Today Show, the nursing student said she was kidnapped at gunpoint by Towns, who forced her to drive to Birmingham and threatened to kill her if she didn’t withdraw cash from her bank accounts and ATM card.
Eventually he took control of the car itself, allegedly locking Diggs up in the trunk of the vehicle.
‘The whole time he’s driving, he’s, like, just, he’s yelling at me from the front seat, “You’re lying. I know you have something. Give me your money,”‘ she said.
She said Towns also threatened to kill her if he didn’t get any money.
It was while her captor was stopped at another gas station, trying to get more money out of her accounts, that Diggs came up with the idea to use the light on her insulin pump to illuminate the trunk and help her find the inside latch, she said.
‘I just got the bright idea to use my insulin pump light, which is not a bright light, but it was bright enough to see,’ Diggs said. ‘So I had to put it right on top of it to look and see for the latch.’
She then waited for her captor to get back into the car so she could escape at the right moment.
‘I’m holding the latch like this, waiting for him to get back in the car. He gets in [and] he’s yelling … and I feel the car reversing, and he’s pulling out pretty fast, so I’m, like, “Oh shoot – I better get out of here,”‘ she said.
Surveillance video shows the moment that Diggs rolled out of the back of the car just as her captor was speeding off. She then bolted into the gas station and frantically asked for help.
Owner Yosef Al Sabah recalled the startling moment to WVTM.
‘As he was leaving, I saw the trunk popped up and a woman jumped out of the trunk and came inside the store. I let her inside a safe place and locked the door and called the police,’ he said.
Her car was later recovered but Diggs says she was so traumatized by the incident though that she doesn’t want it back, and she hasn’t slept in her old apartment since.
‘I try to put it in the back of my head so I can just get through the day, but that was the scariest thing that I’ve had to do.
‘It was just a lot because I’m not from here, I don’t have the support system down here besides my roommate. I just felt like it was a lot,’ she said.
Her friends have started a Go Fund Me page to raise money for her to relocate.
‘Brittany jumped with nothing to lose but also nothing to come back to,’ a friend wrote on the page. ‘This stranger took everything from her.’
So far, the fund has raised almost $38,000.
By DAILYMAIL.COM REPORTER