Police ID suspect in Whitby standoff, abduction of solicitor
Published Tuesday, October 16, 2012 1:23PM EDT
Police say they believe a suspect who has barricaded himself inside a Whitby auto repair shop and who is wanted in connection with the kidnapping of Oshawa’s city solicitor is former Oshawa city councillor Robert Lutczyk.
Investigators have surrounded a building at 401 Hopkins Rd. in Whitby and “continue to negotiate with a male suspect,” police said in a news release issued shortly before 3:30 p.m. ET.
Police believe the suspect is alone in the building, which is located in an industrial district.
Police have closed Hopkins Street and have evacuated nearby businesses as negotiations continue.
York Regional Police arrived on the scene in an armoured vehicle to help Durham officers secure the area and a command post was set up across from the surrounded building.
The York officers were there to “spell off” Durham police officials as per protocol for a lengthy standoff, Durham police said in a statement.
Police confirmed that the standoff is connected to “a kidnapping incident in Clarington” Monday evening.
Earlier Tuesday, CTV News learned that Oshawa’s top legal official, city solicitor David Potts, was released unharmed after being abducted from his home overnight.
Police say Potts was followed to his home in Clarington, east of Oshawa, late Monday after a council meeting. From there he was taken by his abductor and forced into the backseat of a car.
Potts was then driven around for some time, before he somehow managed to convince the driver to get food and have a conversation. It was during this time that Potts managed to get away.
Oshawa Mayor John Henry was contacted by police around 11:00 p.m. Monday and told of a problem at Potts’ residence.
Henry told CTV Toronto he was shocked by the news.
“To have a staff member abducted, it just scares me. It makes me worry. Not just about what goes on here, but this could happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime,” he said.
Area residents were also startled by the incident.
“This is a court we live on. It’s quiet, it’s nice. The kids play hockey out here during the summertime,” said one neighbour. “That’s appalling.”
The mayor would not comment on whether it was Coun. Lutczyk inside the building, but did say he worked with Lutczyk for four years, before the councillor lost his seat in the 2010 election.
Lutczyk has since been running a bed and breakfast, reports CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman. Lutczyk has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit with the city of Oshawa.
Meanwhile, Potts’ home remains under heavy police surveillance.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman