St. Louis (KMOV) – Federal and local authorities say the $9-million ATM Solutions robbery in August may be sparking a series of kidnappings involving suspects in the case.
The FBI's Special Agent in Charge Dennis Baker held a news conference on Wednesday morning to announce that 13 and 16 year old kidnapping victims had been rescued thanks to the efforts of the FBI, St. Louis city and county police.
The FBI says that four men kidnapped the teens at gunpoint from a home on Sunday evening around 4 p.m. and held them for ransom. The ransom was never paid and the teens were recovered safely about 30-hours later in north St. Louis. The FBI says that the teens are related to suspects in the ATM solutions robbery, but would give no further details.
Authorities say the four men are described as black males in their 20s. The FBI says they are developing strong leads on tracking these men down.
In a related incident, on Monday an intruder entered an apartment in Bellefontaine Neighbors detaining three women. The man forced the women to drive him to north St. Louis where he was picked up by an associate. The women were not hurt. The FBI says the man left the women in an area near where the two teens were recovered.
Investigators are trying to determine if the suspect in that case was one of the gunmen in the kidnapping case.
The kidnappings may be an attempt to extort part of the millions of dollars taken in the ATM Solutions robbery. The FBI says they have very strong leads in the case.
Authorities have made one arrest. James Wrights, 32, of St. Louis was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant that was related to the ATM Solutions robbery. He has been charged with Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property. Investigators are not revealing what if any part he might have played in this week's incidents.
John Wesley Jones, 36, of St. Louis is considered a suspect, but has not been formally charged in connection to the robbery.
The FBI says anyone with information in the case should call (314) 589-2500. ATM Solutions is offering a $150,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest, conviction and recovery of money in the case.
News 4's Marc Cox is on the story and will pass along updates as they become available.