Officials investigating possible kidnapping after four men drag victim into waiting van
RIVERSIDE — Officials are investigating a possible kidnapping after witnesses saw as many as four men chasing another man in a Riverside Starbucks parking lot after the reported victim leapt out of and ran from a moving van. According to witnesses, the alleged suspects dragged the man back into the van, Wednesday night, Sept. 26, before fleeing the scene.
The Starbucks where the alleged incident happened is at the intersection of Arlington and Brockton avenues, across the street from Notre Dame High and St. Catherine’s Catholic schools.
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City of Riverside police officers responded to the Starbucks parking lot around 8:15 p.m., after receiving multiple reports of a possible kidnapping.
911 callers told emergency dispatchers that when an older dark or grey colored van pulled into the Starbucks parking lot an adult male jumped out of the van and tried fleeing from several men who had been trying to keep him inside the vehicle, according to Riverside Police Officer Railsback.
Witnesses also later reported the possible victim appeared injured and was bleeding from his head and face.
The alleged suspects caught the fleeing and bloodied subject and dragged him back to the van, pushing him into it, before the van fled from the area at high-speed.
Officers converged on the business and quickly cordoned off the Starbucks parking lot – designating the entire area a crime scene – and called in additional resources including investigators and crime scene technicians.
Officials located a possible blood trail, found near where the van had stopped, and were later seen searching for, documenting, photographing, and collecting, various items of potential evidence.
Dennis Gray, who works near the Starbucks and witnessed the incident, later told ABC7 News he was in the lot when the possible kidnapping happened.
“It was an abduction, there is no question in my mind it was an abduction, for one reason or another,” Gray explained.
“I was working and I heard somebody outside yelling and screaming and hollering,” Gray described.
“So I ran outside and there’s a van parked kitty-corner in the parking lot. They had the door open and there’s a guy trying to push somebody’s feet in … and a lady in the corner was yelling and screaming, ‘Help him! Help him!'”
Gray described seeing four men inside the van and said the victim they were pushing into the vehicle was “laying across the guys in the backseat who were trying to pull the guy in.”
According to Gray, when he asked the men what was happening, one of them said, “We’re going to take this guy to the police department because he raped my sister.”
Not believing the man’s claims, Gray said he ran to his business to grab his cell phone, but by the time he came back the van and all subjects were gone.
“All I could say was that they were all Hispanic. They had dark hair and brown eyes. That’s all I can say. It happened so fast,” said Gray.
Police are still investigating the alleged incident and are working to confirm if an actual kidnapping occurred or if something else took place.
Officials have located several security cameras in the area and are reviewing them in the hopes of finding additional evidence related to the incident and their investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Riverside PD at (951) 826-5700. Callers can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.