(NEW YORK) — A New York City businessman was rescued this week after being held for more than a month in an abandoned warehouse, where his alleged abductors tortured him for weeks in a plot to extort his family for millions in ransom, prosecutors said.
Pedro Portugal, an accountant and father, was abducted off a Queens street in broad daylight last month, when he was forced into an SUV by a two men pretending to be police officers, according to the Queens, N.Y., District Attorney’s Office.
From there, authorities said, he was taken to a nearby warehouse where he was tortured with beatings and acid, all in an effort to secure $3 million in ransom from his family in Ecuador.
“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 while his alleged kidnappers demanded $3 million from relatives in Ecuador for his safe return,” Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said in the prepared statement.
The kidnappers, “a group of masked males, burned his hand with acid, threatened to cut off his fingers and kill him, and punched him in the face and body causing him to lose teeth and suffer multiple bruises,” prosecutors said in a prepared statement.
“In many respects, this thing was like a James Bond movie. He was tied to a chair, duct-taped, ropes put around his wrists, a hood put over his head,” Brown told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.
After 32 days in captivity, Portugal, 52, was rescued on Monday when police officers, disguised as building inspectors, raided the building. They found Portugal bound with cloth and duct tape.
“The outstanding work by detectives in the case may well have saved the victim’s life,” New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
Three men were arrested and have been identified as Christian Acuna, 35, Dennis Alves, 32, and Eduardo Moncayo, 38.
All three men are charged with two counts of kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 25 years to life in prison.
The men have been arraigned, but had not yet obtained lawyers or entered pleas, sources said.
It was not immediately clear why Portugal was a target for the kidnappers. Authorities said his family in Ecuador owned property, but were not exceptionally wealthy. Police were investigating several possible motives, including a “suspected narcotics link,” according to sources.
Investigators told ABC News the victim was known to carry large amounts of cash on him and drove an expensive car, potentially making him a target for abduction.
Portugal’s family would not respond to requests for comment.
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