WEEKI WACHEE — Cynthia Coniglio thought her two girls would be gone just long enough for their father to pick up fireworks for the Fourth of July.
It turned into a days-long ordeal that ended in an arrest.
On Thursday morning, Aaron David Brooks went to Coniglio's Weeki Wachee home to see his children, Olivia Brooks, 2, and 9-month-old Raven Brooks. Coniglio asked Brooks, 31, to leave multiple times, but Brooks refused, according to a Hernando County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit. Brooks said he wouldn't leave unless Coniglio let him take their children and her car to the store to pick up fireworks, the report states.
Coniglio eventually turned over her keys and allowed him to take the two kids to the store. He told her they would be back by 9:30 p.m.
He didn't show.
She last heard from Brooks at 9 p.m. He did not return subsequent text messages and phone calls, according to the report. They were missing until about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Authorities located the two young girls, who were not harmed, and Brooks on Sunday morning at a Brooksville apartment complex.
Brooks, who has an extensive criminal record in Florida, was arrested on charges of interference with child custody and grand theft of a motor vehicle. He was being held Monday evening in lieu of a $2,000 bail.
When authorities found him, Brooks told them he was on his way home with the kids. He told authorities he took the kids the day before because Coniglio was having a breakdown and has mental issues, according to the arrest report. He said Coniglio "specifically told him to take the car and children because she needed a break," the report said.
He acknowledged that Coniglio called him and that he didn't respond.
Olivia and Raven were eventually given back to their mother.
Brooks has numerous arrests in Florida, including charges of larceny, vehicle theft, battery and burglary, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. His previous Hernando County arrests include a domestic battery charge in March as well as a battery charge and probation violation from March 2012.
Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.