The investigation started Sunday night with 7:35 p.m. calls to Target on Santa Rosa Avenue about the scantily clad man shouting for people to call police.
When officers arrived, the man, a Roseville resident, told them he’d been kidnapped and forced to disrobe at gunpoint as part of a marijuana sale that fell apart when one group stole the merchandise, Sgt. Josh Ludtke said Tuesday. The victim was believed to be the deal broker.
Earlier Sunday, the parties had met at a Taylor View Drive apartment complex in south Santa Rosa before driving to Slater Street in central Santa Rosa to make the deal at an apartment complex there, Ludtke said.
But while the would-be buyers were on their own, examining a 5‑pound sample, they took off with it. The victim — as broker — had to relay the bad news to the sellers who then pointed a gun at him. They forced him into the car and took him back to Taylor View Drive, said the sergeant.
There, “they told him to strip down and get into the trunk. He thought they were going to kill him,” Ludtke said. “In a moment of distraction he ran for it.”
Not sure if he was being chased, he headed through properties, cleared a fence and crossed an apartment complex where he jumped into a slow‑moving car. The man asked the startled occupants to take him somewhere with lots of people. They took him to the nearby Target shopping area and told him to get out.
Sunday night into Monday detectives sifted through what they had, including partial names and nicknames and car information, and developed a Stockton connection and a possible vehicle. Monday, four Santa Rosa detectives and a sergeant headed to the Central Valley city, honing in on a house where the suspects where believed to be hiding.
When the couple left the house, Stockton police stopped their car and took Seth Willden, 38, and Misty Lovecchio, 39, into custody, Ludtke said.
In their home detectives found a gun and marijuana. The two were arrested on suspicion of robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a gun and making threats.
Ludtke said Willden wielded the gun and Lovecchio drove and participated in the Santa Rosa crimes. The two remained in the San Joaquin County Jail Tuesday but were expected to be extradited to the Sonoma County Jail.
Detectives still are looking for others from the initial marijuana deal and Ludtke asked anyone with information to contact police at 707‑543‑3590.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or email@example.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.