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News / Clark County News

Vancouver man accused of attempted kidnap of 11-year-old at lemonade stand

Boy was able to break free of suspect's grip

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: May 24, 2023, 2:54pm

A Vancouver man is accused of trying to kidnap an 11-year-old boy who was running a lemonade stand Tuesday evening at an east Vancouver apartment complex.

Benjamin M. Kelley, 35, appeared Wednesday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree attempted kidnapping.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Ikata said Kelley has two prior driving under the influence convictions. Judge David Gregerson said that seemed to indicate Kelley struggles with substance abuse or has impulsivity problems. The judge set Kelley’s bail at $50,000; he is scheduled to be arraigned June 7.

Vancouver police responded at about 7 p.m. to the Avana One Zero Nine Apartments, 3708 N.E. 109th Ave. A man called 911 to report another man tried to take his son, but his son was able to break free of the man’s grip, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The father told officers he was inside his apartment when he got a call that a stranger tried to grab his son and stole things from his son’s lemonade stand. The father said he got into his car, picked up his son and went to look for the stranger, the affidavit states.

He said he found the man, later identified by police as Kelley, and confronted him. He told officers Kelley asked him what he could do to apologize, court records say.

The boy told police Kelley approached his lemonade stand and began telling him and his friend about a business opportunity. Kelley then walked up to him, he said, grabbed him by the arm and picked him up. He said he wiggled out of Kelley’s grip and ran away, according to the affidavit.

Afterward, the boy’s friend said Kelley tried to take his scooter, but he eventually dropped it. Kelley also grabbed several bags of chips and lemonade before leaving, court records state.

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