Cops urge caution after Avon kidnapping
AVON – In the wake of Monday’s kidnapping, Avon police are trying to educate Avon Crossing staff and residents about keeping themselves and their neighbors safe, said Avon Police Chief Brian Kozak.
“We’re paying a lot of attention to Avon Crossing to make the people feel more secure, but anywhere you live, there are certain safety things you should be aware of,” he said.
Along with telling people to lock up their homes and garages, officers are also suggesting that Avon Crossing management install safety devices that would require residents to buzz visitors into the building.
But the responsibility isn’t all on those who live there. Police have increased patrol in the neighborhood as well. And across the Vail Valley, officers are on the lookout for the man suspected of kidnapping and holding hostage Wendy Davidson and her two daughters, ages 7 and 10, Kozak said.
Davidson had put her daughters into her 2005 white Chevrolet Suburban, and returned to her Avon Crossing apartment to get her mailbox keys when she encountered a man wielding a gun, Kozak said.
While police first though the man followed Davidson into her apartment, Kozak said it now appears the suspect was already in Davidson’s home when she came back in to get her keys.
“She might have disturbed a burglary in progress,” Kozak said. “But he didn’t take anything from the apartment, so he might have just been trying doors looking for car keys.”
After getting Davidson and her daughters into the master bedroom, he tied them up with shoelaces and tape, Kozak said. After a few hours, he left, taking Davidson’s car with him.
Police suspect the man then went to the Minturn First Bank where he might have wanted to rob the bank, but found it closed, Kozak said. Bank teller Joann Avilla noticed the suspicious character hanging out in the white Suburban and contacted police after the suspect tried to get into the building, Kozak said.
Police haven’t found the suspect yet, but did recover Davidson’s car in Vail. Davidson’s family did not want to be interviwed Wednedsay.
The incident may or may not be related to two recent West Star Bank robberies on Hanson Ranch Road in Vail.
Although Davidson and her children weren’t harmed in the incident, Kozak pointed to a larger problem in the Vail Valley ” a false sense of security that leads smart people to not lock their doors, windows and cars.
“People need to get into the habit of locking doors ” even here,” Kozak said.
On July 30, 2005, Erinn Graves was mugged in Avon Crossing, according to an Avon police report. The report said a Hispanic man took $10 from the young woman and fled.
Just about a year later, Avon Crossing residents Wendy Davidson and her daughters were held hostage in their own apartment for hours by a man who eventually store their car and likely tried to rob a bank afterwards, Kozak said.
Any chance the two cases are related?
It’s a possibility, though not terribly likely, Kozak said.
Both men were Hispanic and wore ski masks while they committed their crimes, but Graves’ assailant seemed to be shorter, stockier than Davidson’s, Kozak said.
Graves’ also barely spoke English and was looking for money, while Davidson’s was looking for a vehicle, he said.
“I guess he could have lost weight and learned English,” Kozak said.
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado