A 52-year-old business man kidnapped in broad daylight off a New York City street by men demanding a $3 million ransom has been rescued after more than a month of torture that included knocked-out teeth, acid burns and death threats, authorities said.
Authorities arrested two New York City men and a New Jersey man Monday after police officers posed as building inspectors, raided the warehouse where the victim was being held for 32 days and freed him after an exhaustive search, according to the New York Times.
The three men, Christian Acuna, 35, Dennis Alves, 32, and Eduardo Moncayo, 38, are being charged with the kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment of Pedro Portugal, a married father of six from Queens, who's originally from Ecuador. Police on Wednesday night were still searching for three other men. If convicted, the men face 25 years to life in prison.
Authorities said that Portugal was constantly abused by the suspects -- his arms and legs bound to a chair, his hand was burned with acid, was kicked in the face and body. He was poorly fed, though apparently the kidnappers treated him to cake on his birthday.
On April 18, Portugal was walking down a Queens street last month from his office to his car when he was grabbed by the three suspects, thrown into a sport utility vehicle, and taken to a warehouse nearby in Long Island City.
The kidnappers then called Portugal's family in Ecuador and demanded $3 million from his relatives, the Times reported.
Portugal was rescued on Monday by six police officers disguised as building inspectors.. According to the Times, Portugal was found in the bathroom and came out with his hands bound with nylon rope. He was taken to a hospital and then was released.
The Portugal family immediately notified police after they were called for the ransom. Portugal is not an exceedingly wealthy man, police said. He owns an accounting business and his family in Ecuador also own small businesses.
“This is a terrifying story of a businessman allegedly being forcibly abducted off the streets of Queens County in broad daylight and being beaten and held against his will for more than a month,” Richard Brown, the Queens district attorney, said in a statement.
“In the process, the victim allegedly suffered physical injuries and has been deeply traumatized by the ordeal,” Brown added.
The NYPD worked with Ecuadorian police and the United States State Department. Officers tracked the phone calls between the kidnappers and Portugal's family in Ecuador.