Wild Tale of Kidnapping Preceded Dramatic Fire Escape Arrest

Photo via NYPD of one of the arrests.

By Joy Bergmann

A minor parking accident in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn on Monday afternoon turned into an alleged kidnapping and ransom demand that ended with a high-speed foot pursuit and an arrest on an Upper West Side fire escape, Capt. Timothy Malin reported at a 20th Precinct press conference Tuesday.

“This is one of the strangest cases I’ve ever been a part of,” Malin said. “This is a gunpoint abduction with an element of extortion to it, that spanned the city from one borough to the next and ended with a police chase that went up the side of a building. Thankfully nobody was hurt.”

According to Malin, the victim – a 32 year-old delivery van driver – was parking his van on Gates Avenue in Brooklyn and accidentally hit a parked car around noon on Monday. Two men approached the victim claiming to know the owner of the parked car. These two men allegedly demanded $700 cash from the driver for the damages. The victim told the men he’d have to call his boss, a 29 year-old man who lives on the UWS. Upon receiving the call, the boss refused the cash payment idea, stating he would instead follow regular insurance procedures.

At this point, Malin says, the two men then allegedly produced a firearm and abducted the victim. They allegedly told the boss: If he wanted his employee and his van back, he was going to have to pay up. The boss then reportedly told the men to meet him at 73rd and Broadway at the Chase bank. The two men then allegedly threw the victim into the back of their white BMW sedan and drove to Manhattan. 

While this was happening, the victim’s boss called 911 at 2:41 p.m. and explained what was going on. The boss met with Sgt. Sean Pallone and Officer Mark McCaffrey. Together they quickly devised a plan to trap the alleged perpetrators. 

Officer Mark McCaffrey and Sgt. Sean Pallone made the fire escape arrest.

When the BMW showed up at approximately 3 p.m., the officers attempted to stop the men. The men then attempted to flee in the BMW, driving two blocks south, crashing the vehicle on the sidewalk at 71st Street near Broadway. Officers were able to arrest one alleged perpetrator in front of 215 W. 71st Street. The second alleged perpetrator ran.

Photo of a car involved in the incident by Marianne Hettinger.

That man went west on 71st Street, sprinted through the West End Day School’s alleyway and darted up eight stories on the rear fire escape of 244 W. 72nd Street. Officer McCaffrey and Sgt. Pallone pursued him up the side of the building and made the arrest. 

No one was injured in the incident.

Detectives later obtained a search warrant for the BMW and recovered a loaded 25-caliber handgun and small quantities of heroin and cocaine, Malin said.

Arrested were Rondell Halley, 33, from Queens and Francisco Jimenez, 24, of Brooklyn. Charges against the duo include kidnapping, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a weapon and possession of narcotics.

“We don’t know if there’s any connection between the two subjects and the vehicle that was hit in the parking accident or if this was part of some elaborate scam,” said Malin. “It’s still under investigation.”

NEWS | 13 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      kidnapping is lots of years in jail. byebye garbage humans.

    2. Woody says:

      What was the plan they quickly devised to catch the alleged perpetrators? I thought they would do something clever like pose as the victim’s boss.

    3. Scott says:

      They’ll be back out on the street in 24 hours. In 3 years, their criminal records will be scrubbed from public view.

    4. B flat says:

      Yeah right.

    5. Brenda says:

      Well whatya know! That is the same lieutenant who laughed in my face yesterday when I tried to report a man sexually harassing me.

    6. Sarah says:

      Wow, this story is even crazier than previously reported, though even more in line with the Russian-style scam I mentioned.

      These are some super-genius criminals, all right.

    7. Genius boy says:

      Sounds like to me these guys do this for a living …

    8. Thomas says:

      Question is how did the alleged perps drive away in their BMW? Crashed and could have killed folks!!! There was no unit to block them? They should have been taken after they go out of the car.

    9. UWS parent says:

      It’s a disgrace the landlord opted to meet on one of the busiest intersections FAR, FRA away from the scene of the crime in Brooklyn so that it was nice and convenient to his bank. Children were walking home from school then! Mine and other kids and innocent people could have been killed, for what – $1000? Thank goodness no one was hurt by nothing but good luck.

    10. StevenCinNYC says:

      What a great article with good photos and writing. It was like watching an episode of Law & Order! Quick thinking on the part of the boss and police. Glad everyone was OK and that the City collectively (police and civilians) can be so effective and responsive.