From the Archives: Kidnapper caught after spotted by Winters officer

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Alert action by Winters Police Officer Frank Moon last Friday morning resulted in the capture of kidnapper Charles D. McArthur, and the release of the hostage unharmed.

According to the story, as pieced together, McArthur kidnapped Mrs. John Dawson, 65, from her Dixon home about 11:45 p.m. Thursday night, tied up her husband and informed him that she would be held for $100,000 ransom. He then drove off with Dawson’s two-tone brown Chrysler , after tying up Dawson.

Winters Police Chief Earl Washabaugh was notified of the kidnapping at 1:45 a.m. Friday, and notified Officer Moon, who was on duty.

About 4:50 o’clock that morning, Moon had cruised north on Railroad Avenue to the city limits and turned into the Union Oil bulk plant to make a U-turn when he saw a car approaching from the north.

He waited until the car passed before pulling back on the highway, and noticed that it was a late model two-tone Chrysler answering the description of the getaway car. Moon then pulled within 50 feet of the car so that it was the right car.

The local officer notified the Yolo County sheriff’s office by radio that he had spotted the car and was following it towards Davis. The sheriff’s office then alerted the California Highway Patrol and the Solano County sheriff’s office.

Moon reported that he made no attempt to overtake McArthur, since the man, suspicious of the following car, might speed up and get out of the area before road blocks could be formed.

Halfway to Davis, at the Russell ranch, McArthur turned south across Stevenson Bridge, and Moon reported the new direction. He was informed that the roadblock was set up at Kilkenny Road, and upon seeing the police cars ahead, Moon then opened up with his siren and red lights, letting McArthur know that police were on both sides.

The hunted man, however, broke through the roadblock and picked up speed, with several shots being fired by the officers manning the road block. The Winters officer kept right behind him as he broke through another roadblock, this one near the Milk Farm.

Once McArthur reached Highway 40, he pushed the throttle to the floor, and by this time 15 or 20 various law enforcement officer joined the chase.

The pursuit ended when an officer cut in front of McArthur and applied his brakes, forcing the get-away car to crash near the Nut Tree. The Winters police car was right behind and Officer Moon helped the victim, Mrs. Dawson, from the car while Sheriff Tom Joyce of Solano County and his deputies held McArthur.

Mrs. Dawson was taken to Vacaville, where she was treated for shock and a small gash on her neck.

McArthur told officers that after kidnapping Mrs. Dawson, he had driven to an abandoned house north of Madison, where he kept her for several hours before deciding to call it quits.

A Solano County grand jury Tuesday indicted him for kidnapping for ransom, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft, and violation of the weapons act. He is now in the Solano County jail, en lieu of $20,000 bail.

This was believed to be the first case of kidnapping for ransom in the history of Solano County.


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