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3 arrested in kidnapping, robbery plot



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WEST VALLEY CITY -- Three people are in jail accused of kidnapping and robbing a man last weekend. They were tracked down and arrested Thursday, and police say they planned out the crime on an innocent victim.

It started when the victim met a woman named Natasha Watts at a bar Saturday. She invited him to an apartment in West Valley City. Turns out, it was a setup.

Police say when the man walked inside, he was confronted by two people with guns. "They forced him into a back bedroom where they bound him with some packaging tape and they demanded his money. He told them he didn't have any money, but he promised them that he could get money from an ATM if they would simply give him a ride to one," said West Valley police Lt. Bill Merritt.

The suspects drove the man to the Maverik convenience store at 3100 South and Redwood Road. He withdrew some money and he gave it to the suspects. They then took off, leaving him behind. Police say he saw them drive back to the apartment.

Officers talked to the man who rents the apartment. He told them some acquaintances were talking about planning a robbery.

On Thursday, an officer in the area saw a car matching the description of the suspects' car and arrested three people: Natasha Watts, Tonita Holland and Richard Raymond.

Jail documents say officers saw a gun in their car. They have been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

Police say these crimes do happen, although not too often. "If you meet somebody that seems to be friendly, you don't necessarily want to be suspicious right away, but you obviously want to use caution. Be careful about who you meet up with and where you go with a person you've only known for a short time," Merritt said.

E-mail: syi@ksl.com

Sandra Yi

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