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Police see links among three kidnappings

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

Gastonia police are investigating three kidnappings since Saturday that they believe may be related.

The first one happened at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. A man was unloading groceries at home when he was approached by two thin, black men in their 20s wearing dark clothing and hoodies, according to police.

The man was forced at gunpoint into his vehicle, and the two men drove him to an ATM in Gastonia, where they made him withdraw money. The two men then got into another vehicle believed to be following them, and left, police said.

About 6:30 a.m. Sunday, another man was confronted in the parking lot outside his apartment. Two men fitting the same description forced the man into his vehicle at gunpoint. They drove to several ATMs in Charlotte to get cash, and then the two men got out of the car and left on foot near Concord, police said.

About 5 a.m. Monday, two people were at Flint Groves Baptist Church, 2017 E. Ozark Ave., to prepare breakfast for a meeting. Someone knocked on the back door, and they opened it, according to police.

Two men forced them into one of the victims’ vehicles and drove them to Charlotte, where they were forced to withdraw money from an ATM. The victims were released at Interstate 85 and Sugar Creek Road, police said.

Anyone with information on these crimes can call Gastonia police at 704-866-3300 or detectives at 704-866-6880, or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000. Crime Stoppers pays as much as $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero
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