Monday, December 13, 2004

Least-Competent Criminal of the Week

If you're going to kidnap a wealthy widow and hold her ransom, it might be better not to pick your own boss' wife, no matter how disgruntled you were as an employee. KPRC in Houston reports that disgruntled former employee Jesus Prieto and Adrian de La Cruz kidnapped their former boss' widow, Shirley Cashiola (too good to be a tag name in a novel), and held her for two days demanding a half-million ransom. Police had already figured out that Prieto was involved when they agreed to drop the ransom in a remote location. They had him under surveillance as he started driving to the spot. Unaware of the special ops that were underway, a local deputy pulled him over for a routine stop. This rattled Prieto's cage so much that he drove back to the hideout where the victim was being kept bound & gagged. Police knocked on the door and his partner opened (on the first knock) and readily let them in. "(We) took him down," Officer Maxey said.

At common law, kidnapping was not a felony, but most statutes today make it a serious crime. The kidnapper of Charles Lindberg's child was charged not with kidnapping but with theft of the pajamas the abducted child wore in order to furnish the basis for a felony murder charge whenthe child died. See State v. Hauptmann, 180 A. 809 (N.J. 1935).