Originally created 06/20/03

Police investigate man's kidnapping



An Augusta businessman was kidnapped Wednesday night by two masked robbers who had hidden in his van while he paid for gasoline at a convenience store, authorities said.

Khalid Sarsour, the owner of Lee Supermarket on East Boundary Street, was tied up and had his face covered while the robbers drove him around for eight hours, Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Matthew Stocks said. The men finally robbed Mr. Sarsour of his wallet and van and abandoned him in North Augusta at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday. Public Safety officers found him walking on Georgia Avenue. Mr. Sarsour was not injured.

"He asked them not to hurt him because he had a wife and kids. He begged for his life," Investigator Stocks said.

Authorities are looking for the kidnappers and the victim's green 1996 Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Investigator Stocks gave the following account of the kidnapping and robbery:

Mr. Sarsour, 39, left Lee Supermarket at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and drove to the Smile Gas station at Laney-Walker Boulevard and East Boundary Street. He filled his gas tank and went inside to pay, leaving his van unlocked. The gas pumps he used were behind the store and could not be seen from inside.

After he got back into his van and pulled away, the men appeared from behind the seats wearing black masks and black vinyl jackets. One of them put a gun to Mr. Sarsour's head and told him where to drive.

Eventually, the men told Mr. Sarsour to stop the van. They pulled the victim's shirt over his face, tied his hands behind his back and placed him face down in the van. They then drove around for hours before releasing Mr. Sarsour.

Investigator Stocks said Mr. Sarsour was shaken up but seemed to be in good health. He returned to work Thursday.

Mr. Sarsour could not provide a good description of the men, but Investigator Stocks said he is reviewing surveillance video taken from the convenience store.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.