- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2004

Three men have been arrested and charged with holding a Prince George’s County businessman hostage for a $500,000 ransom.

The arrests came after a Montgomery County traffic stop early Saturday led police to the discovery of a 27-year-old kidnapping victim wrapped in duct tape in the back of a car.

At about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Officers Dawn Bedeaux and Donnie Oaks noticed two cars speeding south on Georgia Avenue near Hewitt Avenue. The officers followed the speeding Dodge Durango and Eagle Vision. When a computer report showed that the Eagle had tags belonging to an Oldsmobile, the officers turned on their cruiser’s emergency lights, but the car fled onto Layhill Road.

The Eagle went out of control in front of the Maryland Park Police headquarters and crashed into some bushes.

The driver and passenger jumped out of the car and ran. Officer Oaks tackled the passenger about 60 yards from the car and found $4,500 in cash in his possession.

Officer Bedeaux lost sight of the driver in nearby woods, but K-9 units later found him in the snow near a creek.

When Officer Oaks returned to the wrecked car, he discovered the kidnapping victim in the back seat.

“He was facedown, with duct tape all over him,” Officer Oaks said.

The victim told officers that he had been approached in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Camp Springs around 10 p.m. Friday by two men with badges and a gun. They said they were FBI agents and ordered the man to come with them.

The suspects then called the victim’s brother and demanded $500,000 in ransom. They threatened to kill the victim if his brother called police. The brother managed to collect about $18,000, which he delivered to a location specified by the suspects.

About an hour after the first car was stopped, the second vehicle was located in Silver Spring. Police recovered a handgun and $4,500. An equal amount had been found in the first car, and police think the money is part of the ransom that had been paid.

Early yesterday, investigators searched a home in Aspen Hill and found cash and other items that linked the home to the crime.

The two men from the first car and the driver of the sport utility vehicle were arrested and charged with kidnapping, extortion and conspiracy. They were identified as Anthony J. Robertson, 25, of Temple Hills; Jelani Johnson, 26, of Greenbelt; and Quentin McQueen, 24, of the District.

All were held without bond at the Montgomery County Detention Center.

Police think the victim may have been targeted because he is a business owner in Prince George’s County. They found no direct link between him and the suspects.

• This article was based in part on wire reports.

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