Authorities in New York say a 60-year-old man was discovered bound and beaten inside of his own pickup truck at a Newfane supermarket, but they believe his account of events was fabricated.
According to Buzzfeed News, Robert Brandel claimed two acquaintances forced him at gunpoint to drive around the community for two days and left him tied up in his vehicle on Tuesday evening.
He said they robbed him of $16,000 in previous gambling winnings during the abduction, as reported by the New York Post.
The two men were reportedly part of a gambling pool during a Super Bowl scheme through which Brandel allegedly hoped to bilk victims out of thousands. Instead, investigators believe he ended up as the one on the hook for a $50,000 payout and opted to orchestrate a kidnapping in an effort to get out of paying.
Reports indicate Brandel’s hands and feet were bound with duct tape and his neck was affixed to the seat with a rope.
In an interview related to the suspect’s arrest, officer John Spero said it did not take long to identify holes in his story.
“There were a couple of warning signs,” he said. “He wasn’t a good liar.”
Though Spero said the suspect was “actually a very nice guy,” he said the plans “went south pretty quick” after the Super Bowl.
In addition to an inconsistent story, police say they gathered evidence — including his wife’s account — that Brandel had organized the gambling scheme.
He is expected to appear in court later this month to face criminal charges of first-degree scheme to defraud and a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an incident. If convicted, he could spend four years behind bars.
[Featured image: Robert Brandel, New York State Police]