Man accused of kidnapping coach, teen before carjacking woman charged

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Ira Stringer (Orange Police Department)

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SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of abducting a batting coach and his teenage student at Hickman Field in Kearny Mesa last week, then committing a carjacking to make his getaway, appeared before a judge in Orange County Tuesday.

Ira Stringer, 45, was taken into custody in the city of Orange on Saturday after fleeing from a Circle K gas station he allegedly robbed, according to a San Diego Police Department statement.

He faces a list of charges including robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and evading police.

Stringer allegedly admitted to the double kidnapping when he was interviewed by SDPD detectives, and also allegedly admitted to robbing an AM/PM store in Lemon Grove before making his way to Orange County.

Stringer also has a lengthy record with crimes dating back to 1990, including a kidnapping of an elderly woman from her Spring Valley home in 1995.

The coach and teenaged boy were kidnapped last Wednesday morning from the Hickman Field ballpark at 5100 Hickman Field Drive. Stringer allegedly approached them and asked for a cigarette. When the coach and teen declined, Stringer allegedly threatened them with a silver revolver and ordered them both into the coach's car.

"Next thing you know he whips a gun and tells Jack and Dylan get in the car," said Kevin Spencer.

Spencer is the father of the student who was kidnapped. The former special teams coach of the San Diego Chargers spoke with FOX 5.

"The guy said something about being involved with a gang or something and he had to get away," said Spencer.

Spencer said Stringer ordered the coach to drive them to Ramona, with the teen in the passenger seat and Stringer in the back seat with his gun pointed at the victims.

Stringer allegedly took the coach's cell phone and pretended to have a conversation with another person who appeared to be in on the heist, said Spencer.

"But, turns out I don't think there was anyone on the phone," Spencer said.

The coach allegedly tried to take the gun from Stringer and a fight ensued, causing the coach to lose control of the car and crash into another vehicle near San Vincente and Warnock roads in Ramona.

"Gunshots were fired in the car. Some of them hit the roof of the car. Jack made a comment his ears were ringing," said Spencer.

Immediately after the crash, the teen got out of the car and ran to a passing motorist to ask for help. The Good Samaritan took the boy to the Ramona sheriff's station.

The victims told deputies that after the crash, the kidnapping suspect carjacked an elderly woman who tried to help them.

Spencer said Stringer often made threats against his son and the coach.  He's relieved no one was hurt, but knowing what he knows now about Stringer, he calls it a miracle.

"It happened two days before Christmas and it was also my wife's birthday," said Spencer. "It was probably a birthday and Christmas we’ll never forget for a long time, but it certainly ended in a positive fashion. Thank God for Dylan and Jack."

San Diego police said eventually, Stringer will be extradited to San Diego, where he will face additional charges.

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