Police: One arrested, two others on run after trio of kidnappings

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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GASTONIA, N.C. —

A man accused of kidnapping could barely bring his head up to a face a judge Wednesday.

Reginald Rice is accused of working with two others to kidnap two men from a Gastonia church Monday morning and holding them at gunpoint as they went bank-to-bank for cash.

The other two kidnappers are still on the run.

One of the victims said he forgives his attackers, but he wants them to know how the kidnapping has changed his world.

Rice told the judge he worked at a Dallas grocery store making $650 a month.

He hung his head when the judge raised his bond from $50,000 to $500,000.

Prosecutors did not say if they believe he is one of the two men who kidnapped two church volunteers at gunpoint or if they think he drove the get-away car for them.

Claude Burdette is one of the volunteers who told Cannel 9 Rice’s arrest makes him feel better.

“It gave me peace,” Burdette said.

He became emotional when he described the moments when he and his friend Tony Patterson were forced to get money out of ATMs by two men who held them at gunpoint.

“Because they don’t really realize what they are doing to people when they do this,” Burdette said.

Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon showed Burdette a picture of Rice.

“I hope he gets his heart right,” he said.

The men who kidnapped him and Patterson kept their faces covered.

He said he wants justice, but he prays for Rice just as he prayed for the men who kidnapped him.

“I don’t have no hard feelings towards them, I just want them to stop what they are doing,” Burdette said.

Police believe this arrest has put a stop to the three kidnappings over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, two other men were kidnapped in two different communities and forced to withdraw cash.

Neither of those men were injured.

There have been no other kidnappings since police developed suspects’ names.

“There are still several more people to talk to, but it is a positive start towards ending this series,” said Gastonia Police Capt. Steve Duncan.

Rice is only charged with one of the three kidnappings.

The district attorney said he could face more charges.