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Man arrested in 1 of 3 recent Gaston kidnappings

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Gastonia County Jail photo - Gastonia County Jail photo
Reginald Rice Jr., 21, of Dallas, has been charged in connection with one of three recent kidnappings and robberies in Gastonia, police say. (Gastonia County Jail photo.)

Gastonia police say they’ve made an arrest in connection with one of three kidnappings which took place over a 54-hour period last weekend and early this week.

Reginald Tyrone Rice Jr., 21, of Dallas, was arrested in connection with a kidnapping and robbery of two men about 5 a.m. Monday at Flint Groves Baptist Church in Gastonia. He has been charged with two counts of felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping and two counts of conspiring to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Rice is charged with the last of the kidnappings. In that case, police say, two men were at the church on East Ozark Avenue to prepare breakfast for a meeting. Someone knocked at the back door, and when the victims opened the door, two men barged in, according to investigators.

Police say the suspects forced the men into one of the victim’s vehicles and drove them into Charlotte, making them withdraw money from an ATM. The victims were released at the Interstate 85/Sugar Creek Road interchange.

The other two kidnappings followed similar scenarios.

The first case took place about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Police say a man had gotten off work and was unloading groceries at home when he was approached by two men wearing dark clothes and hoodies. The victim was forced at gunpoint into his vehicle, then made to drive to an ATM in Gastonia and withdraw money, authorities say.

And about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, a man was abducted from the parking lot outside his apartment, forced to drive at gunpoint into Charlotte, where he was made to withdraw money from several ATMs. Police say the victim was forced to drive to Concord, where the suspects got out of the vehicle.

Anyone with information in these cases is asked to contact Gastonia Police at 704-866-3300 or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.

Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107 Twitter: @slyttle
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