Man faces 19 charges in suspected kidnap and robbery

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A man suspected of kidnapping three people including a Ramona grandmother and robbery of a Lemon Grove convenience store in 2015 has been indicted on 19 charges by a county grand jury.

Following three days of testimony behind closed doors last week, the grand jury indicted Ira Alexander Stringer, 47, of 10 different kidnapping charges and robbery of the AM/PM store, located at 2717 Lemon Grove Ave. that occurred on Dec. 26, 2015.

A man suspected of kidnapping three people including a Ramona grandmother and robbery of a Lemon Grove convenience store in 2015 has been indicted on 19 charges by a county grand jury.

Following three days of testimony behind closed doors last week, the grand jury indicted Ira Alexander Stringer, 47, of 10 different kidnapping charges and robbery of the AM/PM store, located at 2717 Lemon Grove Ave. that occurred on Dec. 26, 2015.

Stringer pleaded not guilty to all charges June 29 and San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth set an August 18 trial date. Stringer, who is serving an unrelated 20-year prison term for robbery in Orange County, remains in jail without bail.

A county grand jury is rarely used in criminal matters, and the purpose in this case is to speed it along. Although he was arrested within days of the incidents, Stringer first faced trial in Orange County and only returned here some months ago.

Stringer had been set for a preliminary hearing Sept. 18, but the hearing has been eliminated as a result of the grand jury’s indictment. 

The kidnappings occurred Dec. 23, 2015 when he allegedly abducted a baseball coach and a 16-year-old boy in Kearny Mesa and forced the coach to drive to Ramona. The coach struggled with Stringer over the gun and three shots were fired inside the car, which then crashed on San Vicente Road. The student was nearly hit, but he and the coach were shaken, but not injured.

Stringer then ran to cars and got inside a vehicle driven by Barbara Roulier, 79. He ordered her to drive into downtown Ramona, where he told her to get out of her car on Main Street. Stringer then drove off in her car, which was later found at the Barona casino. 

Stringer is charged with multiple counts of kidnapping during a carjacking, kidnapping for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, child endangerment, carjacking, and armed robbery. The kidnapping counts carry a life sentence in prison.

The grandmother and others were among 19 witnesses who testified before the grand jury.

Santee man sentenced for identity fraud and firearm possession by a felon

Frank Robert Kennedy, 36, of Santee, was sentenced June 29 to two years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of identification of 10 people and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Deputy District Attorney Clayton Carr said Kennedy was in possession of personal identification info of approximately 400 people when he and his girlfriend, Maria Nancy Gaffney, 32, were arrested by sheriff’s deputies in May.

Gaffney’s photo at a Wal-Mart store in Santee was aired to the media after a woman discovered her credit card information was stolen on April 1. Deputies discovered the stolen identification and stolen mail at their home. Gaffney pleaded guilty to committing identity theft and was placed on three years probation along with participation in an outpatient drug treatment program on June 6.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein gave Kennedy credit for 38 days in jail and probation was denied. Carr said he was on probation at the time for identity theft.

Alpine bank robber released to drug treatment center

An Alpine bank robber who stabbed himself just before he could be arrested was released from jail June 22 to a residential drug treatment program.

A 5-year suspended prison term was issued against John Ryan Wiederkehr, 27, which he would have to serve if he violates any conditions of five years probation in a ruling by El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson.

Wiederkehr was given credit for 404 days spent in jail that includes good conduct credits since his arrest on Dec. 1, 2016. He was ordered to pay $795 restitution to the U.S. Bank branch that was held up on Nov. 30 that is located in the Albertsons grocery store at 2955 Alpine Boulevard.

Thompson sentenced him to 1-year in jail, which he had already served with his jail credits. He was released from jail when someone from the public defenders office took him to the program.

Wiederkehr pleaded guilty May 24 to robbery in the 11:09 a.m. incident in which he handed a demand note to the teller. He is from the Alpine area.

Sheriff’s deputies received information Dec. 1 that Wiederkehr was in Alpine and found to be in a parking lot about a half a mile east of the Viejas casino. When deputies approached him and gave him commands, he pulled out a large knife from his pocket and stabbed himself in the chest.

A deputy shot a taser at him to stop him from harming himself, and he was immobilized. He dropped the knife and was airlifted to a hospital for treatment. In January, criminal proceedings were suspended until a judge determined he was mentally competent on May 12.