Durham County

Durham man faces long prison term after summer kidnapping spree

Rollin Anthony Owens Jr.
Rollin Anthony Owens Jr.

A man who kidnapped multiple people during a four-day spree last June and forced them to withdraw money from ATMs and buy items for him pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges Friday.

Rollin Anthony Owens Jr., 30, of Durham, pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping of a minor and one count of kidnapping in federal court, according to U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin.

Owens entered his plea in front of U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Tilley Jr.

Owens' spree of kidnappings and robberies began on June 17, 2017, and ended four days later.

He first kidnapped a father and his two small children, ages 4 and 18 months, as they were leaving Burch Avenue Park in Durham, according to court records. Owens pulled out a gun and forced the father to drive to an ATM to withdraw money and to a convenience store to make purchases.

Owens subsequently kidnapped two brothers from the parking lot of a residence in Durham the following day. When one brother resisted, Owens pistol-whipped him with a large gun and threw him in the trunk of one of the brothers' car. Owens then forced the other brother to drive the car to an ATM and withdraw money from both brothers’ accounts and to make a purchase at a convenience store.

Then on June 20, 2017, Owens kidnapped a man and woman and their two small children from their home in Durham. He knocked on their door asking for money. After the father gave him money, Owens pulled out a gun and forced the father, his wife, and two children, ages 4 and 2, into the family car. He forced them at gunpoint to drive to an ATM to withdraw money and then to a Food Lion and convenience store to make purchases and attempt to get cash back.

Owens’ crime spree finally ended when he forced the family to go to Target, where the father, while in the store purchasing items for Owens, was able to alert an employee to call the police. Durham police apprehended Owens as he was leaving the store with more than $1,000 worth of merchandise.

Owens is scheduled for sentencing on June 15. Each of the two counts of kidnapping of a minor carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison. The last count of kidnapping carries a maximum sentence of life.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews