Sanford, N.C. — A Sanford bank employee and her daughter were kidnapped from their Harnett County home Thursday morning by two men who took them to the bank and forced the woman to try to rob it, authorities said.
The robbery was botched, and the mother and daughter were unharmed, but investigators are still searching for the two men.
A spokesman for the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said the incident began just before 7 a.m., when the men entered the woman’s home on Hillman Grove Road in Cameron just as the daughter came back from letting out the family dog.
The men wore wearing dark clothing, masks and gloves, and one was armed with a handgun.
Investigators said the men told the woman they knew she worked at Crescent State Bank in Sanford and that she usually arrived for work at 8 a.m. The pair forced the mother and daughter into the woman’s blue Honda Civic and drove the vehicle to the bank, at 870 Spring Lane.
When they arrived, one of the men instructed the woman to go inside and retrieve an undisclosed amount of money. Investigators said the daughter remained in the car with the men while the woman complied.
The two men grew impatient while the woman was inside the bank, and the drove off with the girl without getting any money.
Sanford police received the first emergency call at 8:21 a.m., and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the abduction about 20 minutes later. A description of the vehicle was broadcast, and a manhunt began.
Sanford police officers found the car, with the girl in the back seat, abandoned off U.S. Highway 15/501 at the entrance to Steel and Pipe Corp. in Sanford.
The girl wasn't injured, authorities said.
Officers canvassed the area around the steel plant and detained a man, but an FBI spokesman said the man wasn't connected to the kidnapping or attempted bank robbery.
Kieran Shanahan, a Raleigh lawyer who represents the bank, said the mother and daughter were reunited and were holding up “pretty well.” Authorities said they were in a secure location for their safety.
Shanahan said the bank is cooperating with the investigation, and the employees are focused on well-being of their co-worker and her daughter.
The branch will reopen Friday.
The first man is described as black, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 160 to 170 pounds. The second man is also black, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 180 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office at 910-893-9111.
The North Carolina Bankers Association is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case.