IREDELL COUNTY, NC (FOX 46) - A father is accused of hiring a team to grab his son in Iredell County, North Carolina and transport him more than 12 hours north to Massachusetts. But a call from a neighbor threw a wrench in their plan.
It started with a call to 911.
911 Dispatcher: What do you mean something’s happened?
Caller: Well I think, it’s not happening now, it’s over, but I think they kidnapped her grandson
A neighbor called in to report suspicious activity. That’s when dispatchers sent deputies rushing to the scene.
911 Dispatcher: A person walked by your house, you looked out; there was a blue van in the driveway of the neighbors’. Four people got out, went into the house, someone came out to the van, got a rope, and then brought out a 16-year-old forcefully and put him in the van while the boy was screaming “let me go”?
Deputies said the teen's father, Rickey Thomas Jr., and a hired team went to his son’s school trying to find him. Then they went to the boy’s house. They reportedly broke into the house, tied the teen up and forced him into a van.
The father then went to the airport while the others headed north. FOX 46 Charlotte spoke to a family member who said the teen’s life hasn’t been easy.
“He’s had it rough growing up. I mean, his mama and daddy separated when he was a little fella and he stayed with his daddy a while and moved back here with his grandparents and stayed here with this side of the family. I hadn’t heard nothing about his father in a long time,” the neighbor explained.
The suspects driving the van were arrested in Virginia and Thomas turned himself in to Massachusetts police.
Speaking off camera, the boy’s mother said the teen was having a hard time coping with what happened. She’s not surprised a neighbor stepped in to help.
“That I could understand because it’s like the Neighborhood Watch around here. Everybody watched everybody else’s back, the best that I’ve ever known.”
Thomas has a court date set for March 21. The DA plans to have the four suspects extradited back to North Carolina.