Wednesday, October 13, 2004

'Lesson' turns into kidnapping charges

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

MIDDLETOWN - Two Middletown men who told police they were trying to teach three rock-throwing boys a lesson have been charged with kidnapping.

Robert Gibson, 23, was being held in the Middletown jail on $84,000 bond, while Anthony Watkins, also 23, was released on bond Tuesday. The two face felony charges of kidnapping. They are accused of forcing the 11-year-old boys into a van and driving them around after one of the boys hit the parked van with a pebble.

The boys were not injured, Middletown Detective Janice Jones said. "They were really scared," she said. "They felt terrorized by these guys. All three said they thought they were going to kill them or beat them."

The incident unfolded at 4:30 p.m. Saturday when the boys were walking along Bernice Avenue throwing pebbles at each other, Jones said. One of the stones struck the top of Watkins' parked van, and the two men then came out of the house, ordered the boys into the van and began driving them around "to teach them a lesson," Jones said.

After about 20 minutes, one of the boys called his mom with a cell phone from the back of the van, police said. When the men realized the boy was on the phone with his mother, they dropped the boys off on Oxford State Road, about a mile from where the incident started, police said.

The men were arrested later that day.

Watkins is charged with three counts of kidnapping, a felony, and three counts of criminal child enticement, a misdemeanor. Gibson is charged with three counts of complicity to kidnapping, a felony, and three counts ofcomplicity to criminal child enticement, a misdemeanor.


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