One arrested in string of related kidnappings, police say - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

One arrested in string of related kidnappings, police say

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GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) -

Police have a arrested a man they say was involved in a series of kidnappings they believe to be related.

Reginald Tyrone Rice, Jr., 21, of Dallas, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts each of felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiring to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. 

Police in Gastonia and Charlotte were reviewing surveillance video at several ATMs in both cities as detectives investigated the three kidnapping incidents since Saturday.

Investigators say the kidnapping victims appear to be targets of opportunity.

"The victims and the suspects seem to be totally unrelated. Anytime you have a crime like that certainly it's of concern" says Captain Steve Duncan, of Gastonia Police.

According to Gastonia Police, the first incident happened on Saturday morning around 1:30 a.m.

Officers say the victim had gotten off work and was unloading groceries at home when he was approached by two men and force him into his vehicle at gunpoint.

The men, described as young, thin, black males in their 20s wearing dark clothing and hoodies, forced the man to drive to an ATM in Gastonia and withdraw money.

Police say the men then jumped into another vehicle which they believed was following the man and left the ATM.

On Sunday morning, around 6:30 a.m., another victim was confronted in the parking lot outside his apartment.

Two men with the same description forced him into his vehicle at gunpoint. They drove to several ATMs in Charlotte to get cash and the men got out of the car and left on foot near Concord.

The third incident, which police say Rice was involved in, happened Monday morning around 5 a.m., two victims were at Flint Groves Baptist Church, preparing breakfast for a meeting.

Police say someone knocked on the back door and they opened it.

Two men forced them into a vehicle and drove them to Charlotte where they were forced to withdraw money from an ATM.

The victims were released near the Sugar Creek Road intersection of Interstate 85, police told WBTV.

Police say the suspects are not targeting a specific area.

"No indication that these victims were in a location they should not have been, or doing anything they shouldn't otherwise be doing" says Captain Duncan. "They were going about their normal daily activities and this occurred so it's of particular interest to us."

Investigators say the victims did what they should have to save their lives.

"We hate to give anybody advice on how to react to a violent act but certainly anything you can do to reduce your chance of injury – property, money, things like that –certainly not worth being injured over" says Captain Duncan.

Anyone with information these crimes can call Gastonia Police at (704) 866-3300, Detectives at (704) 866-6880, or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at (704) 861-8000.

Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

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