My esteemed colleague Colin linked to a version of this story this morning but because we worry for your safety out there and want you to be very, very aware that these things do happen, we figured it warranted a post of its own. Personally, I feel fortunate that though my public persona as #2 troll around here might leave me open to a bit more stalking than most of you, I'm too scary for anyone to think kidnapping me would be a good idea. Besides a few aggressive trolls who hide behind the Internet to hassle me, it's not like I have to worry about anyone with a real set of nuts rolling up to my apartment trying to take me away.
But since some of you might not be so frightening in person, here's the story as presented by the Atlantic:
In a strange true-life story that seems ripped from TV crime drama (rather than the other way around), a New York City man was kidnapped and held for ransom for over a month, before the NYPD rescued him this week. Pedro Portugal was grabbed off the street in broad daylight on April 18, and held hostage in a Queens warehouse… while a group of men attempted to extract a $3 million ransom from his family in Ecuador.
Police in both countries (with the help of the State Department) tracked down the kidnappers, while his family tried to negotiate. They followed a group of potential criminals who had recently traveled to and from Ecuador to a rented warehouse space and set-up a stakeout. Then on Monday night, six New York police officers entered the building by posing as building inspectors. When they knocked the door, the jig was up, and Portugal was saved.
WTF? Who is this guy, Scott London's CPA? Well no, according to the story he owns a small tax business in Queens and a few other businesses in Ecuador, but is certainly not as filthy rich as most of the partners we know:
Police say Portugal was beaten and abused throughout the ordeal, threatened with stabbings and amputations, and at one point he lost several teeth and had his hand burned with acid. Why he was selected for ransoming is still hard to figure out, since the victim owns an accounting business in Queens, and several other business back in Ecuador, but is not "exceedingly wealthy," according to authorities.
Three men have been arrested and charged with the kidnapping, but three others may have been involved and not been found. Despite the rough treatment, the kidnappers did display one bit of kindness to Portugal (that only adds to the weirdness of the whole story.) On his birthday, they bought him a cake.
According to prosecutors, his captors approached him at his office, flashed an NYPD badge and ordered him into an SUV. Portugal spent 32 days in capitivity.
Well then. We can all only hope if we ever get kidnapped, beaten and abused, our kidnappers will be kind enough to buy us a cake on our birthday.