New York City police officers said they encountered a man in the basement of a Bronx deli who claimed he had been kidnapped, beaten, and tied up.
The officers were chasing after two suspects when they went into the bodega on Wednesday, Sept. 11 in search of the men who had ran into the store.
“While the officers were searching the store for the two individuals, a 35-year-old store employee allowed them access to the basement area,” said a statement by the NYPD 47th Precinct.
There, they found a 49-year-old man, who said he had been kidnapped three days earlier just a few blocks away by four people who grabbed him of the street and bundled him into a waiting dark-colored sedan.
“The four individuals then drove the victim to the deli’s basement where he was bound and beaten about the head and torso,” according to the NYPD.
Medics were called in, but the man refused treatment, according to police. The man has a lengthy arrest record, the New York Post cited police as saying.
The owner of the bodega, Orinthia Gifford, has been arrested and charged with assault, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, CPW (criminal possession of a weapon), menacing and harassment, according to a press release cited by local media.
Police are looking for Richard Millwood, 35, in connection with the kidnapping accusation.
Millwood was the store employee who had allowed police inside and led them to the basement, according to the New York Daily News. Millwood allegedly untied the man just moments earlier, telling him to keep quiet while police searched the basement.
As the victim began to talk to officers though, Millwood slipped away, reported the newspaper.
Millwood is described as approximately five-foot-ten and 200 pounds. Police said he was last seen wearing all dark clothing.
Police said there are no photos currently available of the other two kidnapping suspects.
The deli owner’s 26-year-old daughter told the New York Post she was shocked to hear about her mother’s arrest but said she knew her mother had been involved with “fugitives.”
“I know she got caught up with something to do with some fugitives. They chased them in here and I guess since she’s the owner, they took her in,” she said.
Police said that the kidnapping suspects were all known to the victim.
The deli is located at the upper reaches of the Bronx, where the edge of New York city gives way to Westchester County.
Police are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the capture of Millwood. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477.)