DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham residents say they’re concerned over why police did not notify the community sooner about a string of crimes involving an armed man kidnapping families for money.
On Tuesday, police arrested 29-year-old Rollin Owens after they say he kidnapped two victims at gunpoint, along with their children, and forced them to drive to an ATM, a convenience store and a Target. He demanded money and goods.
However, that was just the final incident in a string of similar crimes police say Owens committed over a four-day period.
The first incident occurred Saturday morning at a park. It also involved a family with small children.
Police say Owens struck three more times in the time period between the first incident and when they notified the community.
“I would like to think we would have found out about it a little sooner from someone other than you [CBS North Carolina] knocking on my door and telling me about it,” said Nancy McKaig.
“It’s sad and scary that this would happen in our neighborhood, and it’s sad and scary that it’s taken several days to find out any more information,” said Lucia Foster.
Both McKaig and Foster live feet away from Burch Avenue Park where the first incident happened. They ask why the community had to wait so long to hear about this incident in their neighborhood.
“I’m concerned the people who know more info didn’t reach out to the people in this community,” said Foster.
CBS North Carolina took their concerns to Durham Police Department officials and asked why the community was not notified sooner.
“Investigators were working to follow-up on the information and to determine if the incidents were connected,” said Wil Glenn with the Durham police.
The first incident and the second incident police say Owens was involved in were more than 14 hours apart.
In previous news releases from police, notification of situations has been put out within the same day, or in sometimes within hours of the incident.
CBS North Carolina followed up with Glenn via email asking how determining a connection between incidents affects releasing info to the public, and what if any general policy exists for information releases.
We have not heard back yet.
CBS North Carolina also requested on-camera interviews with Durham police officials, however they declined our requests.
We reached out to the entire Durham City Council, including Mayor Bill Bell, and Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield. The officials who responded to our emails said they would reach out to police officials, but said this is a police matter and requests should be sent directly to them.
Owens was taken into custody Tuesday at a Target in Durham where he was attempting to force a family to buy him clothes and gift cards. He is being held on a $1 million dollar bond.