Suspect in kidnapping, attempted robbery on the loose

- Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a man accused of kidnapping his former girlfriend and trying to force her to get money from a bank.

Around 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 25, the Sheriff's Office received a report of kidnapping. Melissa Lefler told deputies that her ex-boyfriend Reginald Aaron Ballard, 42, held her against her will at her home on West Highway 27. She said Ballard then held a gun to her head and demanded $5,000.

She refused at first, but later drove Ballard to Carolina Trust Bank at 790 West HIghway 27 in an attempt to withdraw the money. While at the bank, Lefler was able to tell the bank employees that they need to call the police. 

Ballard got suspicious and forced her to drive away from the bank. She drove around the area and finally parked in a Bi-Lo parking lot. She ticked Ballard into getting out of the car, locked it, and blew on the horn several times. 

This got the attention of the bank employees, and Ballard fled the area. Both Lincolnton Police and the Lincoln County Sheriff's office responded to the scene and began searching for him using drones and K9s. 

Lefler told officers that Ballard is possibly suicidal. He is believed to be armed and dangerous.

Ballard was last seen wearing camouflage clothes. He is a white man with hazel eyes, weighs around 160 pounds and is 6'0". He has long brown hair which was tied in a ponytail.

Once captured, he will face charges of first degree kidnapping, felonious restraint, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats.

Anyone with information on Ballard's whereabouts is asked to call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or your nearest law enforcement agency.

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