Local News

Police: Durham robber forced family to shop at Target

Posted June 20
Updated June 21

— Durham police say a man arrested Tuesday morning forced some of his victims to withdraw money at an ATM then shop for him at Target.

An employee at the Target on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard called 911, and police arrested Rollin Anthony Owens Jr., 29, in the parking lot.

Owens faces charges that link him to several robberies and kidnappings over the past four days.

Authorities say Owens knocked on the door of a home in the West End neighborhood at about 7 a.m. Tuesday and asked for money. He then forced a man, a woman and two children from the home into their car at gunpoint.

Rollin Owens, Durham robbery spree

Police said Owens forced the man to make stops at an ATM to withdraw money and at a convenience store before the group arrived at the Target. Inside, Owens forced the family to select clothes and gift cards before the man was able to signal for help.

"They caught him so that gives a peace of mind that others don't always have," said the man, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons. "We're lucky. That's the bottom line."

Owens is charged with multiple counts of second-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, assault inflicting serious injury and assault by pointing a gun in connection with the following incidents:

June 17- Police said Owens approached a man with his young children at about 10:45 a.m. in Burch Avenue Park and asked for money. Owens then put a gun to the man’s head as he put his children in the car and forced him to drive to an ATM to withdraw money and then drive to a convenience store before fleeing with $500 on Estes Street.

June 18- Police said Owens approached a man walking on Morgan Street at about 2:30 a.m. and demanded money. When the man said he had no money, Owens put a gun to his stomach and fled. Owens approached the man again a short time later and again pointed the gun and demanded money but fled without cash.

June 18- Police said Owens approached two brothers in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Duke University Road at about 11:15 p.m. and demanded money at gunpoint. The younger brother struggled with Owens, who hit the man on the head and face with his gun.

Police said Owens forced the younger brother into the trunk of a vehicle which he forced the older brother to drive to an ATM and convenience store to buy cigarettes before fleeing with $400. The brother was treated for cuts to his face and a possible concussion.

Police said Owens is also facing prior charges of felony larceny, breaking and entering, obtaining property by false pretense and trespassing.

He was being held in the Durham County Jail under $1 million bond.


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  • Danita Freeman Jun 23, 10:06 p.m.
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    Thank goodness he was caught before anyone was seriously hurt or killed. I can't imagine the fear that the victims must still feel. Everything isn't about race so no point in going that direction. He is obviously someone that doesn't need to be back on the streets and I hope he receives a very long sentence.

  • Catherine Edwards Jun 21, 11:45 a.m.
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    Glad they caught him! He needs to go away for a long time.

  • Tom Estep Jun 21, 9:59 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    How true!

  • Kerry Harpe Jun 21, 9:27 a.m.
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    Pure genius. There's a police office attached to the Target, and a police substation not 2 blocks away. I'm surprised he hasn't killed himself by now.

  • William James Jun 21, 9:08 a.m.
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    Its difficult to combat deliberate and planned crimes like this because even if you own a gun its unlikely you answer the door armed 100% , walk around your house armed, or willing to risk you family shooting it out with kids in the background. So, perfect example where police response was a better alternative.

  • Rusty Shackleford Jun 21, 1:55 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    I'm a "lib". I own a gun. And know how to use it. Just so you know.

  • Robert Lewis Jun 21, 12:36 a.m.
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    The crooks know that the libs in Chapel Hill and Durham don't own guns so they know who to go after. This guy is scum

  • Barrett Powell Jun 20, 11:14 p.m.
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    Could have been worse...they could have been forced to shop at Walmart.

  • Tim Orr Jun 20, 7:58 p.m.
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    So...was the gun legally owned by him? Is he a Democrat? Let's get the whole story?

  • Linda Tally Jun 20, 7:12 p.m.
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    Unfortunately, this mug shot is of a face familiar to me. Glad they got him, hope they hold him, and don't want to ever have to see that face again. Yitch!