A masked robber abducted a father, mother and their two children inside their Fairfax County home on Thursday.
Police said the man forced the family to then drive to an ATM and pull money out for him.
The incident happened in the Herndon area, in the San Moritz Circle complex. The mother of the family had gone outside to throw trash into a dumpster, and when she returned to her apartment about 9:30 p.m., she forgot to lock the front door.
Shortly after, the robber entered the apartment. Inside he encountered the mother, along with her teenage son and toddler child. The suspect, who implied that he was carrying a weapon, ordered all three into a back room, where he tied up the teenager, according to authorities.
While the robber was tying up the teen in the back, a family friend, dropped off by the family's father, entered the front of the apartment. The suspect ordered the friend to the floor, and when he did not comply, the suspect beat him with a sharp object. The man suffered lacerations that were not life-threatening.
Shortly after, the father entered the apartment and was assaulted, too. Then the robber forced the parents, children and family friend into the family sedan, instructing them to drive to a nearby ATM at a Bank of America. The robber directed both father and friend to withdraw cash for him and then forced the father into the trunk of the sedan.
He ordered the friend to continue driving. While on Innovation Road, near a business park, the robber ordered the vehicle stopped and everyone but the father out.
The robber then drove the vehicle back to the apartment, still with the father in the trunk. After the robber fled the scene, the father managed to free himself from the trunk by pulling the emergency latch. He then got back in the car and went in search of his family, who were still on the roadway.
A bicyclist who happened by the family and let them use his phone said they seemed lost.
"It's hard to say why this particular family was chosen," Fairfax County police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. "It may be nothing more than someone had an unlocked door."
Police are hunting for the culprit.