NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A dramatic and unusual crime played out across New York City Monday that involved a gunpoint abduction, a ransom attempt, a chase and an arrest on a fire escape, the NYPD said.
“One of the strangest cases that I’ve ever been a part of in the 18 and a half years I’ve been with the New York City Police Department,” said Capt. Timothy Malin, commanding officer of the 20th precinct.
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It all started at around 12 p.m. Monday on Gates Avenue in Brooklyn. The victim, 32, was making a delivery of medical supplies – diapers and baby formula – when he accidentally struck another car while trying to park his van, police said. The deliveryman was then approached by two other men who demanded cash from him following the crash. The deliveryman called his boss, who told him not to pay the two in cash, but rather to call the insurance company and file a claim.
“At that point, the two perpetrators, worked in concert, produced a firearm, abducted the 32-year-old victim in Brooklyn, got on the phone with the boss and said, in sum and substance, ‘If you want your van back, if you want your driver back, you’re going to have to pay us,’” Malin said.
They initially drove the deliveryman to a lot in Queens, where they left the van, police said. Once there, they called the victim’s boss to demand about $700.
The victim’s boss told the suspects he would pay them, and told them to meet him at 73rd Street and Broadway in Manhattan.
The suspects then put the victim in the back of a white BMW sedan – not the car the victim struck – and drove him into Manhattan, police said. While that was happening, the victim’s boss called 911 and was met by Sgt. Sean Pallone and Officer Mark McCaffrey.
“Together they devised a quick plan to trap the perpetrator,” Malin said.
When the suspects arrived at the location at around 3 p.m., officers moved in to arrest, and the suspects took off. They managed to drive about a block before crashing, Malin said. One suspect was arrested on the street.
“The second perpetrator ran down the block, ran through a school, went up eight stories on a fire escape and was apprehended on the fire escape by Officer McCaffrey and Sgt. Pallone,” Malin said.
“I noticed that he was running out of gas, getting tired, towards what happened to be the eighth floor,” McCaffrey said. “There was no fight towards the end. It was smooth.”
Despite chasing him eight stories up, McCaffrey said he didn’t think about the danger.
“You don’t have too much time to think. It’s kind of just act, and react,” McCaffrey said. “The adrenaline’s pumping, you’re focusing on the perpetrator.”
Nobody involved – not the officers, victim, or perpetrators – were hurt, Malin said.
A search of the car turned up a .25 pistol, a small quantity of heroin and small quantity of cocaine, Malin said. Turns out, they were also not the owners of the vehicle that the victim backed into.
“This is an actual abduction, a gunpoint abduction. There’s an element of extortion to it. It spanned the city. It went from one borough to another borough. It ended with a police chase that went right up the side of the building. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and like I said, this was great police work by the officers in the field and our detective squad working together. There’s now one less gun off the street as a result of it,” Malin said.