DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Neighbors say they tried to tell police about a man they believe was the same one now charged with kidnapping several families in Durham days before the first reported incident.
Neighbors along Carroll Street in Durham say police came to their neighborhood June 12 after a series of car and home break-ins; they were told to contact police if they saw anything suspicious, they say.
Two days later, a man was walking up and down Carroll Street asking for money, neighbors say.
“I’m going door to door and begging for money so I don’t have to resort to robbery,” one neighbor recalled the man panhandling saying.
Neighbors say when police released the identity of 29-year-old Rollin Anthony Owens Jr., a man charged with kidnapping several families in Durham over the last few days, they felt sure the panhandler was the same person.
“I pretty much dropped down to the floor, because I knew he was the person who came to my house,” said another neighbor.
CBS North Carolina spoke to two different people who live along the Carroll Street. However, because of the incidents which have occurred on their street, as well as the crimes police have charged Owens with, they did not want to be named.
The neighbors say they think police could have done more in this situation, and possibly prevented other incidents from happening.
Before the first incident on Saturday, in which police say Owens held a father and two small children at gun point at a park, neighbors say they tried to call Durham Police about the panhandler.
But they say police never called them back.
“I feel they dropped the ball on this. I had a good description of this man who ended up doing these crimes on Thursday days before he went on his spree,” said one neighbor.
“We had tried to do something about it, and there was another family hurt by the police inaction,” said another neighbor.
CBS North Carolina reached out to Durham Police for an on-camera interview two days in a row, but was declined the first day and heard no response the second day.
CBS North Carolina also contacted Durham Police spokesperson Wil Glenn and Durham Police Chief Cereyln Davis about these residents’ concerns, but haven’t heard back.