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Police confirm business connection in councillor kidnapping, standoff

A police truck leaves a building located on Hopkins Street in Whitby, in the middle of an ongoing police investigation on Oct. 16, 2012.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Former Oshawa city councillor Robert  Lutczyk appeared in court briefly Wednesday on multiple charges, after allegedly kidnapping the city's top city lawyer at gunpoint and then barricading  himself inside a Whitby industrial building for more than 24 hours.

He was remanded in custody.

Mr. Lutczyk, 45, is charged with  kidnapping using a restricted firearm; uttering threats to cause bodily harm; forcible confinement; flight from police; dangerous  operation of a motor vehicle; using a firearm in the commission of an offence; and pointing a firearm.

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So far, however, he has not been charged with illegally possessing firearms or ammunition, suggesting he had a permit for the handgun he allegedly used.

He  surrendered  early Wednesday morning, wrapping up a  27-hour standoff with police that ended  peacefully.

At a press conference in Whitby, a half hour's drive  east of Toronto,  Durham Regional Police  Superintendent Brian Osborne would not name  Mr. Lutczyk's alleged  kidnap victim, city solicitor David Potts.

Several sources, however, including  police, confirmed that it is Mr. Potts.

The strange story, which at one point involved a bomb scare, began Monday night around 11 p.m. when a man armed with a handgun abducted Mr. Potts in the driveway  of his Clarington home.

"What we know at this point is that the suspect was upset with the victim over some business matter he had with the City of Oshawa," Supt. Osborne told a throng of  reporters and television cameras.

Police were called after Mr. Potts's worried wife spotted her husband's empty car in the driveway,  Oshawa Mayor John Henry said.

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Police tracked down the suspect's vehicle about three hours later, at 1:45 a.m., and found  two men inside, one in handcuffs.

A short high-speed ensued, ending  roughly one kilometre away, when the  car stopped outside a Whitby industrial building at 401 Hopkins Street..

Durham officers confronted the two men and  despite his restraints  Mr. Potts was able to escape from his captor, who fled  into an industrial unit he had been renting for the previous month.

By 1:52, police called Mr. Henry to tell him Mr. Potts  was safe.

But acting on a tip that there was an explosive device in the unit, they sealed off a large part of the surrounding area.

Over the next  27 hours,  as heavily armed  tactical -squad officers  stood by,  negotiators spoke to Mr. Lutczyk via cell phone  in efforts  to coax him out.

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He eventually emerged from the unit around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

No gunshots were fired.

"The suspect surrendered peacefully, without incident and there's not injuries to anyone in this matter,"  Supt.  Osborne said.

"We're just happy for the conclusion that we have."

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About the Authors

At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

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