A wealthy Vancouver neighbourhood dotted with large homes, pastures and stables is reeling from the second abduction of a resident in less than three years.
Graham McMynn, a 23-year-old computer science student at the University of British Columbia, was taken at gunpoint Tuesday in the brazen daylight incident.
In 2003, 50-year-old stock promoter Mark Godsy, who lives barely two blocks away from the McMynn family's stone and glass mansion in Southlands, was kidnapped by a man who wanted $2-million for his release.
There were no indications the abductions are connected, and police have said little about the motive behind Tuesday's. But some area residents are hoping their wealth is not making them targets.
"It adds a real note of vulnerability," said Catherine Fraser, 57, from astride a brown thoroughbred yesterday along Blenheim Street, a few blocks south of where Mr. McMynn was abducted. "People felt they were protected here."
On Sept. 16, 2003, Mr. Godsy was lured into a recreational vehicle by a Vancouver inventor who thought that was the only way to get $2-million he believed he was owed.
Mr. Godsy was held in the vehicle, blindfolded and bound with duct tape, punched, given electric shocks and threatened with death unless he agreed to pay.
He kept calm and offered the man $30,000 for his release, promising $470,000 more within a few days. When the man left him on a street corner hours later, Mr. Godsy called the police, and the inventor, Brian Shaw, was arrested.
Mr. Shaw, 58, was eventually sentenced to 6½ years for kidnapping, three years for extortion, two years each for assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm, and one year for uttering threats.
Mr. Godsy's horses have since been sold and his house -- recently upgraded with security systems -- is now on the market, sources said, as he and his family come to terms with the ordeal.
In the neighbourhood, about 15 blocks of country homes are situated between four golf courses. People ride and lead horses from stables located on most properties.
The crime was out of place for the neighbourhood, said resident Marion West, who was riding a large, white thoroughbred through the area yesterday. "It's shocking."
As neighbours tried to go about their daily business, members of the news media camped outside the McMynn family's $3.8-million home. "People who don't understand horses ought not to come down here," said one woman, after the black thoroughbred she rode was spooked by a reporter.
The neighbours were skittish, too. Few would give their names, but many said they had told what little they knew to police in hour-long interviews.
"Police talked to everyone in our house," said one woman, who would say only that she is 45. "I told them I saw one of the cars that was on the street. It turned out to be one of the cars" that police suspected carried Mr. McMynn away.
"You wouldn't have thought it was something significant, but the policeman said it was," she added.
Another woman, who also did not want to be identified, said she had seen Mr. McMynn's girlfriend talking on the phone on the street.
Police also have asked that witnesses not be identified while the investigation goes on.
When the intercom button was pressed yesterday at the McMynn house, which backs onto the north arm of the Fraser River, a man answered, stating he did not want to say anything.
The McMynns, who have been in the neighbourhood for about seven years, are well liked, neighbours said, adding that sons Graham and Robert tended to keep to themselves.
"There's certainly nothing to suggest that there could be anything inappropriate about these boys," said Jim Vilvang, a lawyer who lives nearby and is a member of the Southlands Ratepayers Association with Graham's father, Robert McMynn.
"It's a complete shock. It's a terrible situation," Mr. Vilvang said. "Up to now, the biggest concern in our community was people breaking into cars.
"Are we worried our children could be abducted as well? Maybe some of the higher-profile people are.
"We're wondering if the wealthy could be under siege."