2 women kidnapped from Statesville church

| January 1, 2010

STATESVILLE, N.C. — Authorities in Iredell County are searching for a man who kidnapped two women from a church in Statesville and then drove around town, using their ATM cards to withdraw money.

Statesville police say when the man walked into Broad Street United Methodist it was obvious that he wasn't coming to offer praise. He wore a ski mask and a hoodie.

"I guess I was dumbfounded that it happened," said Rev. Donald Shuman, the senior pastor.

The receptionist and the business manager had a gun stuck in their faces and the suspect demanded money. Said Shuman, "I've been in the ministry for 38 years and it’s the first time this kind of thing has happened."

There was no money in the church safe, so the gunman grabbed both women and kidnapped them using a car belonging to one of the victims. Police say one woman was put in the trunk, the other in the passenger seat.

He then drove them along West Broad Street to a couple of ATMs belonging to Bank of America and BB&T. The BB&T is where police were able to get a security camera photo.

Statesville Police Chief Tom Anderson is hoping for the public's help. "If anybody saw a car similar to the victim's where a subject is wearing a ski mask that could help us."

The women were smart, they kept their cool and did exactly as they were told, but they also begged the gunman to let them out and he did along the 1300 block of Buffalo Shoals Road. They flagged down the first car they saw.

Said Shuman, "They are pretty shook up, but the one thing we are eternally grateful for is they are both safe."

Police say the gunmen tried to burn the car to destroy evidence, but an officer found it and put out the fire. Investigators are confident they will be able to find some evidence and find their robber.

“Well he is very intelligent. He is keeping his ski mask on. He is limiting conversation with the victim. He was also wearing gloves. We had cases in the past where trace evidence has been detected where most people wouldn’t think it would be found. We're going to keep looking until we find something,” said Anderson.

One of the victims is in her 70s, the other in her 40s. Shuman says it will be some time before they feel whole, but he knows it could have been much worse.

"God be the glory for that. It just could have turned out differently. Thank goodness they are safe."

Anyone with information should call Statesville police at 704-878-3406.



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Category: Church Security