RCMP seek cattle auctioneer’s alleged abductor

A suspect in what’s alleged to be a botched abduction of prominent Alberta livestock auctioneer Blair Vold has been seen on candid cameras.

RCMP at Ponoka, Alta., north of Red Deer, on Monday released new colour photos of a man allegedly trying to use Vold’s bank card at a CIBC branch at nearby Wetaskiwin.

The photos, RCMP said, were taken about an hour after a similar man is alleged to have tried to withdraw money from Vold’s bank account through an Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB) outlet at nearby Lacombe on Sept. 15, and was also seen there on an automated teller’s camera.

According to Ponoka RCMP, Vold was allegedly taken from near his rural residence southwest of Ponoka at about 9 a.m. last Thursday, forced into a vehicle and driven to Lacombe.

Vold “was able to escape while the suspect was inside the bank attempting to (withdraw) money,” RCMP said last Thursday.

Uninjured, Vold fled to contact police and the suspect left the ATB branch in a newer silver four-door Chevrolet pickup truck, RCMP said.

RCMP described their suspect as six feet tall and of slender build, with a white moustache and goatee, and noted the man had attempted to conceal his face from Vold.

“It is believed that this was not a random incident and the victim was targeted by the suspect,” Ponoka RCMP said in their release.

“He was definitely after me. He knew my name and my family,” Vold said Saturday in an article by Brent Wittmeier of the Edmonton Journal.

Vold told the newspaper he was headed down his private driveway Friday morning when his truck was blocked by a felled tree strung with barb wire. His abductor, he said, started off demanding $300,000 cash at gunpoint and then tried to bargain for as much as he could get.

The man later appeared to pretend to take calls from accomplices he claimed were staking out the auctioneer’s house, Vold told the Journal, noting he didn’t hear the phone ring or anyone speak on the other end.

Blair Vold has worked in the family’s livestock market business, Vold Jones and Vold Auction Co., since 1970, gradually assuming the lead management role as brothers Bill and Shorty Jones sold their interest in the business and founders Ralph and Harry Vold retired.

The auction company now dubs Ponoka the “cattle capital of Canada” and bills itself as one of the premiere livestock markets in the country, selling cattle through three rings simultaneously and through the Canadian Satellite Livestock Auction, a venture the company co-founded.

The company’s Ponoka site in recent years has boosted its cattle holding capacity to 8,000 head and has taken in cattle seven days a week for its Wednesday auctions. VJV also operates markets at Dawson Creek, B.C. and at Stavely, Alta., about 100 km northwest of Lethbridge.

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