Outside Target store, kidnapped Durham family freed, man arrested

Rollin Anthony Owens
Rollin Anthony Owens

A man walked out of a Target store and into the arms of police Tuesday, ending what authorities said was the gunpoint kidnapping of a family and the latest in a series of armed robberies that followed the same pattern.

One of the family members was able to tell a Target worker that they needed help, and police were already at the Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard shopping center where the Target is when 911 dispatchers put out the call, spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

The officers took Rollin Anthony Owens, 29, into custody without a fight, Michael said, and he was charged with seven counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, seven counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault by pointing a gun, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and not showing up in court when he was supposed to on six earlier felony charges and one misdemeanor charge.

Tuesday’s event began when a man, identified as Owens, went to a house in the West End neighborhood about 7 a.m. and asked for money. He got some, Michael said, but then he took out a gun and forced a man, a woman, and two children into their car and made them take him to an ATM and withdraw money.

The gunman then ordered the driver to stop at a convenience store, the same thing that had happened in two of three incidents on June 17 and 18, police said.

At Target on Tuesday, the man police said was Owens forced the family to buy several bags of clothes and gift cards. He was leaving the store about 8:30 a.m. when police confronted him, Michael said.

On Saturday morning, police charged, Owens had gone to Burch Avenue Park and asked for money from a man who was there with two children.

When the man was putting the children into a car to leave, according to police, Owens put a gun to his head, made him go to an ATM for cash and then drive to a convenience store before getting out of the car on Estes Street and running away.

About 2:30 Sunday morning, a man asked for money from a man walking on Morgan Street and drew a gun when the victim said he had no money.

Police charged that it was Owens who did that and who pulled a gun on the same victim a little later and again demanded money before running off empty-handed.

Sunday night, the kidnapping-ATM-convenience-store pattern happened again when a gunman demanded money from brothers who were in the parking lot of a Duke University Road apartment complex, used the gun to beat one brother who fought him and then locked that man in a car trunk.

The gunman, who police said was Owens, left the car and ran off after they had stopped at the convenience store.

A magistrate set Owens’ bail at $1,020,000 after his arrest.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT