BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) – It was a phone call Pat Watson never expected to receive. A man claimed her granddaughter was being held for ransom after she witnessed a drug deal gone bad in Bay Minette.
It happened Friday night when a strange person called Watson unexpectedly. The man on the phone told her he was watching her every move and that she needed to wire him money from Walmart right away. Concerned for her granddaughter’s safety she complied and went to Walmart as quickly as she could, notifying authorities on the way. She begged for the man to release her granddaughter unharmed.
“Bring Hollin. If you want the money to bring Hollin. If you want the money to bring Hollin and I’ll give it to you,” Watson told the man.
Bay Minette Police responded quickly. At the time the threat seemed real and an innocent person was in immediate danger. Bodycam video captured the moments as they unfolded. The man gave Watson information to wire the money to Mexico.
“It was very scary, very realistic. At the time she did not know where Hollin was,” said Nina Lambeth, Hollin’s mom.
“He goes well you don’t call the shots and I said well you don’t either. It’s a standoff. I’m not going anywhere. Bring her here,” added Watson, as she continued to speak with the man on the phone from the Walmart parking lot.
Luckily, Watson wasn’t able to wire the funds because that service was unavailable when she went into the store. Police Chief Al Tolbert warns this scam could’ve happened to anyone and it’s a reminder to stay alert.
“You know, ask them to describe the victim or describe the car she’s driving,” said Chief Tolbert.
Tolbert says this is the first time he’s received a report of this scam in our area, although it has been reported in other areas of the country.