Man questioned in Wheaton abductions

Update, Nov. 30: Police said they will hold a press conference on the abductions at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Detectives were questioning a Prince George’s County man Tuesday evening in connection with a string of incidents in which men were abducted at a Wheaton shopping center and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs, law enforcement sources said.

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The 50-year-old suspect has an extensive history of contact with police, sources said, and online court records show that he was released on bond this month in connection with a robbery. As of about 6 p.m., he was being questioned at Prince George’s County police headquarters and had not been charged with any crimes, the sources said.

The incidents in Wheaton began Nov. 23, when a 75-year-old man leaving the Giant Food store in the 2900 block of University Boulevard was ordered at knifepoint into his own car, police said. The assailant ordered the victim to travel around the area and withdraw money from automatic teller machines, police said.

Three days later, at the same Westfield Wheaton shopping center, a 60-year-old man was abducted under similar circumstances — forced to get cash at ATMs before he was left at a gas station on Blair Road NW in the District. Then, on Sunday, a ­77-year-old man fell victim to the same scheme in the same area. He was forced to go to at least two ATMs, and his assailant cut and beat him before leaving him in the passenger seat of his car near the Mall at Prince Georges in Hyattsville, authorities said.

Montgomery County Police had said previously that they thought the attacks were connected, and on Monday they released surveillance video of the man they thought was responsible for the string of abductions.

The law enforcement sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the case.

The Washington Post is not naming the man because he had not been charged with any crimes.

 
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