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Did kidnappers pose as cops?
Were the four kidnappers who brazenly scooped up a man and his young son early Sunday afternoon posing as police officers?
That appears to be the allegation, based on one of the charges faced by two suspects arrested in connection with the incident.
Richmond's Donald Ryan Stalker, 27, was taken into police custody Sunday just half a block from where the kidnapping began to unfold, and has been charged with impersonating a peace officer. He has at least four current unresolved Richmond provincial court files in his name, including charges that he failed to provide a breath sample to police, driving while his licence was suspended, and driving while prohibited.
Several tenants who live in two residential condo towers that overlook the street where the drama unfolded in the middle of a sunny Sunday, said they were shocked by the kidnapping but happy it was thwarted by Richmond Mounties thanks in large part to a quick-thinking citizen.
The witness called 911 after spotting four suspicious men approach another man as he was latching his young son into his SUV's child seat near the Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport Hotel, at 3099 Corvette Way.
The four suspects handcuffed the victim and forced him into the rear of the vehicle with his son, according to police.
Thanks to the witness who spoke to an EComm operator and provided crucial details, Richmond Mounties raced to the scene, and were able to pull over the vehicle with the suspects and the kidnapping victims before it had moved a city block.
Two men were arrested for kidnapping, and a handgun was recovered from the scene.
Neither the victim nor his son were injured.
Also charged with impersonating a peace officer was Burnaby's Raymond Truong, 19. The pair were also charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement with a firearm, using a restricted/prohibited weapon to commit a robbery, and possession of a prohibited/restricted weapon.
The Richmond Review spoke to one witness, who stumbled upon the immediate aftermath of the incident as she was out walking her dog Sunday sometime after 2 p.m.
"Oh, that's what that was," she said.
She described seeing a white Mercedes Benz SUV sitting in the middle of the roadway with all of its doors open, and she could see a kid's car seat in the back of the Mercedes.
She saw officers writing notes, and numerous police cruisers.
"That's scary," she said, after being told about the kidnapping attempt.
Police remained at the scene well into the evening hours, and were seen towing vehicles, including a BMW, according to the witness.
Another neighbour who saw the heavy police presence said that on Monday morning, a policeman was directing his police dog to sniff around the bushes at the foot of the residential towers, which comprise condos on top, and ground-floor townhouses that face the snaking Corvette Way, at the north end of No. 3 Road near Sea Island Way.
"That's crazy," she said. "If it's targetted then I'm not that worried. (But) how about if nobody saw it," she asked.
Richmond RCMP Sgt. Cam Kowalski said there's no doubt the ending could have been tragic in this case.
Investigators believe the kidnapping was targetted, but not gang related.
Mounties say whenever people see something suspicious, they shouldn't hesitate to call the police.
"This was an example of some outstanding police work performed by dedicated members of the Richmond RCMP," Kowalski said.
Police have no information about the two other suspects, who remain at large, though investigators are continuing to work on the file.