KIDNAPPING SUSPECT IN SANTA MONICA
So What Is A Kidnapping Anyways?
It is an event as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as an act whereby a criminal entity “seizes and detains or carries away by unlawful force or fraud and often includes a demand for ransom“. The example given is: “the child of the wealthy industrialist was kidnapped and held for ransom“. That type of event happened to me in such a way that I became intrinsically involved with it in ways I could never have imagined.
Some 50 Years Ago
I was living in an efficiency unit an apartment complex in Santa Monica, California by myself. It was located on a street called Montana Blvd and situated just blocks from the Pacific Palisades Bluffs Park, a treelined, grassy area that rested on cliffs which overlooked the ocean. If you wanted to make the effort, it was an easy trek to the beach.
The edifice was 3 stories tall and held about 30 apartments. To accommodate the cars owned by the inhabitants, a large subterranean garage served that purpose beneath the entire expanse of the building . Needless to say, it was easy to hide in your car down there and not be seen.
Due to an unfortunate catastrophic accident that totaled my Porsche sports car in the foothills separating the beach cities of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, I was in the throes of searching for a temporary mode of transportation. Since I knew several of the residents there, they were familiar with my situation and one of them owned a small European car that she was thinking about selling. The make of that vehicle was a brand I was not familiar with, but it was sort of boxy looking like a Morris Mini Minor or Fiat.
It was not in operable condition and had been sitting in the garage off in a dark corner for some time. The doors were not locked and it didn’t drawn much attention from anyone in the building or brought a response from an interested party for months on end. Since I was in desperate need of a car, I let it slip that I had given the matter some consideration, but pursued other options and let it slide. Unfortunately, this minute association with the whole thing caused me to become a suspect in a very sensational crime case that I will never forget.
Loud Knock On My Door
Early one morning I was sound asleep when I heard a loud knock at my door. I was not properly dressed when I opened it and discovered 2 men in black overcoats standing there who identified themselves as members of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). After requesting my name, they asked me a bunch of questions about my particular involvement with that derelict car in the garage.
When I asked them what this inquiry was all about, they told me that a young boy had been kidnapped and was found tied up, but still alive, in the vehicle about an hour earlier. They also let me know that he was the son of a wealthy banker and that the perpetrator was demanding a very large ransom.
So, the questions came fast and furious and implied that I had some type of definitive connection with the plot. Questions like whether I had knowledge of the instigator of the crime or why I was interested in the car in the first place. As that interrogation continued, they delved into my background looking for clues. That laborious scenario went on and on as many other questions were asked that I had no answer for. Being still half asleep, I am not sure my responses were all that satisfactory.
After that insufferable ordeal, I was told to keep myself available for further inquiries. In other words, they insisted that I not leave town because I was a suspect. Fabulous!
When they finally left, I quickly dressed myself and rushed outside to get more input. When I reached the foyer of the building, I discovered a hoard of news vehicles in the street with reporters gathered all around. A local TV channel helicopter was buzzing the building overhead with the famous Los Angeles anchorman George Putnam broadcasting live coverage of the event inside. Wow!
When I went back to my apartment and turned on the news, I got more details about the unfolding story playing out in my backyard. The latest details reported that the kidnapper brought the young boy to the building and hid him in a car while demanding the ransom to be paid. The requested amount was for $200,000 (a valuation of over a million dollars today). As fate would have it, he somehow knew about the aforementioned car and that it had been parked unattended for a lengthy bit of time. In short, he knew where to drop the boy off and keep him concealed without drawing attention.
Somehow the crime had morphed into a multi-state event and brought the FBI into the picture, even before this fateful day. Their facts revolved around the premise that the kidnapper knew specific details about the building in advance and he focused his attention on the neglected car inside. Since I had a dubious connection with the now infamous vehicle, the authorities considered me a prime suspect.
After the dust settled, I had the uncomfortable feeling that the FBI agents were not going to just forget about me. I was sure that they had many reservations about our first meeting and wanted to question me further. I surmised that they didn’t care that I had been shocked into submission when confronted by agents so early in the morning on that event filled day and was forced into giving my defense while still in a daze.
So, as expected, a different agent showed up at my door a week later. After I requested he present his identification, he complied and I let him come in. He then proceeded to ask me even more questions. Thinking things through, I quickly came to the conclusion that they were having a hard time finding the fugitive, so to speak.
Well, since I was innocent, I took the initiative and asked him some questions. I wanted to know why did they even possibly suspected me and what was the reasoning behind their thinking. My only intentions were to buy the car for transportation since I had lost my previous vehicle in an accident and that was all there was to it.
I don’t think the agent liked me asking him pointed questions and it showed. What right did this young “smart aleck” have to go on the offensive put him on the spot. My thinking was probably not a good idea at the time, but I was getting weary of the whole thing and wanted out.
Capture And Conclusion
Before the irritated agent left, he posed one final question. Whom do “I” think did it? Since I had sort of placed myself in the driver’s seat at this point, I gave him one final jab.
With a straight face, I said I thought it was a Government Official. Someone who knew the workings of high profile law enforcement procedures and was well equipped to evade capture. I then said I thought it could possibly be another FBI agent. An inside job perhaps. That was a risky move, because I let him leave with a wry smile on his face and shaking his head.
I was not bothered again after that, and a month or so later, they finally located and captured the kidnapper. It turns out he was a United States Post Office employee and had fled the United States in hopes of hiding his whereabouts in England. I think he was apprehended in a London train station. As for knowledge of any further details of the matter, I have none.
So, it turns out that he was, in fact, a government employee and my novice criminal theorem proved somewhat accurate. A sense of relief came over me that the ordeal was all over because, if the real culprit hadn’t been found, I probably would have remained a suspect indefinitely. To make things worse, those over-the-top remarks I made might have come back to haunt me.
In retrospect I can say that I have never done well with any confrontations I had with authoritative personnel. It always seemed that my overall demeanor caused me to be be argumentative every time they aimed their questions at me. Thinking back to that auspicious moment in time, it would have been in my best interests to be more cooperative with their investigative efforts. Fortunately, I did not get sucked into the mire of criminal suspicion more so than what I did. Live and learn, I suppose!
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!