Vancouver boy running lemonade stand fights off would-be kidnapper

A man is behind bars accused of attempting to kidnap a child in Vancouver.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:47 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER Wash. (KPTV) - A man is behind bars accused of attempting to kidnap a child in Vancouver. Authorities said the child was selling lemonade and managed to escape.

Two friends, Austin and Beau, had big dreams for their new business.

”We were selling lemonade, making money,” Austin said.

“And we were just trying to save up for like a new cell phone and a monitor for me, and a cell phone for my friend,” Beau said.

They said they were a couple of hours into running their lemonade and snack stand Tuesday -- right outside of their apartment complex.

“We made like 40 bucks,” Austin said.

That’s when they said a strange man approached them and tried to get them to move to another location farther away from home.

“He tried to get Austin and me to go up all the way to the red, like stop lights,” Beau said.

When they refused, they said things escalated.

”Man comes up and he tries to grab me,” Austin said.

The 11-year-old said his instincts kicked in.

”I kicked his shin like that as hard as I could, and I ran,” Austin said.

While his friend broke free, Beau called Austin’s parents. Austin’s father acted quickly and was able to catch up with that man - and that confrontation was caught on camera.

”He wanted to apologize and make it better. You can’t make that better, you really can’t. I’m sorry, there is no fixing it. You tried to grab a child. You traumatized my child,” Tara, Austin’s mother, said.

The Vancouver Police Department said officers responded to this incident just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and said they’ve identified the man accused as Benjamin Michael Kelley, 35, who has been booked for attempted kidnapping.

A scary experience for the families -- but this dynamic duo said they can’t be stopped.

”Going to open it back up right here or probably more near his house just in case if anything happens,” Beau said.

The two boys are very resilient. They took a day off from their lemonade stand on Wednesday, but plan to be back out there on Thursday, and they’d love for everyone to come by and show support. They’ll be right outside of their apartment complex on Northeast 109th Avenue in Vancouver.