A father and son suspected of forcing their way into man's home, beating him with a baseball bat and kidnapping him were fed up with being victimized, a family friend said.
"I think they (allegedly) did it out of frustration," Mike Cahill told reporters at provincial court in St. John's Oct. 9, minutes before Stephen Alphonsus Maloney and his son, Mitchell Maloney, were set to be led back into the courtroom.
"They got themselves into this situation because their equipment was stolen from their boat and we have a lot of sympathy for those guys. They work very hard every day to go to sea to try and make a living and now their equipment was stolen, taken from them.
"It's too bad it happened this way and we feel very sorry for the Maloney family. We sympathize with them. The victim has become the criminal."
The Maloneys were arrested Friday afternoon, hours after they were said to have committed the crimes. The RNC says an officer patrolling Topsail Road was flagged down around 10:30 a.m. Friday by the 23-year-old victim, who remains in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Sources say the Maloneys knew the man and believe he had stolen items from their boat. They allegedly kidnapped him in a vehicle in an effort to retrieve the items. Sources told The Telegram the man escaped from the vehicle in traffic and flagged down police.
On Thursday, Mitchell Maloney posted on his Facebook page, "bys, the boat got broken into last night. pile of survival suits stolen, socket sets, gas pump and more stolen." He then warns to be on the lookout for anyone selling such items.
Stephen Maloney and Mitchell Maloney each face charges of home invasion, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats and kidnapping with the intent to confine a person against their will.
They were set to have a bail hearing Tuesday. Instead, prosecutor Jennifer Colford told Judge Lois Skanes that the Crown agreed to free the men, who are represented by Erin Breen. The two were released on a $1,500 surety each and were ordered to adhere to strict conditions, including that they have no contact or communication with the complainant.
They're due back in court Nov. 19.
Cahill said it was important for him to be in court to show support for the Maloneys.
"If we came out yesterday and stood beside them, we certainly have to stand by them today," he said.
Cahill organized a rally, protesting the men's arrest, on Monday in Witless Bay, where dozens turned out.
He said there was so much support because the Maloneys aren't the only ones who have been victimized in Witless Bay and the surrounding area. He said there have been a lot of thefts, break-ins and cars burned over the summer. He said residents don't think enough is being done to combat the problem.
"There are a lot of people out in Witless Bay, Bay Bulls, that are very frustrated in how things are going," Cahill said. "I mean, people are losing their quads, they're losing power tools. I mean, basically to leave home you nearly have to park a vehicle across your garage door. It's not a good situation."
Cahill said part of the problem is that police are not getting information to citizens about what they are doing.
"Maybe if we had better communication, we'd know more of what they're actually doing," he said. "And I think they need more help. They need more presence in the area until this thing is resolved."