FORT LAUDERDALE – Leonard Benitez appeared before a Broward County judge Sunday morning, and is being held without bail, after being charged with holding his neighbors hostage Friday night.
The 45-year-old Tamarac man had gone to the home of Louis and Irene Rosen and asked for a cup of salt – yes, salt.
He then pulled out a gun and knife on his neighbors, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. Benitez then allegedly told his neighbors that he wanted $50,000 and ordered them to give him their banking information.
"I'm not a gun person," Irene Rosen said. "I've never been around guns and to sit there and have somebody point a gun."
Irene Rosen said after several hours she was able to escape, which meant leaving Louis Rosen alone with Benitez.
"That was the only time I was frantic. I was all the way down the block and I was worried about him," Irene Rosen said.
At some point, Benitez pistol -whipped Louis Rosen, deputies said.
Benitez then fled from the home, but was soon taken into custody by SWAT members.
He was arrested on charges that include home invasion, battery, false imprisonment of an adult and kidnapping.
Louis Rosen was taken to an area hospital where he was treated.
In court Sunday, Benitez was silent as the judge warned him to stay away from the Rosen family.