A remarkable story is emerging from Barcelona, where police allege a local woman essentially kidnapped herself before spending the ransom money – paid by her unsuspecting husband – at a casino in the city.
The 47-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed that she had been kidnapped and needed £5,000 to secure her release – sending messages to that affect to her husband, who was in hospital at the time and did not know of the alleged plot. He, thinking she was in danger, paid up in full.
His wife then headed to the casino in Barcelona city, where she used a chunk of the £5,000 to play her favourite bingo game.
The ruse was foiled when the terrified husband rang police to report his missing wife, who then commissioned an elite squad of kidnapping specialists to analyse the messages and try to track her down.
Their investigations quickly revealed the wife’s disappearance had, allegedly, been faked, with the local Mossos d’Esquadra police unit tracking her to the casino after CCTV footage showed her in the venue’s lobby area.
The video shows her sanitising her hands before making her way past the slot machines to a bingo hall at the rear of the building in Badalona, just outside of the Catalonian capital.
The police squad set up to find her swooped on the casino and arrested her in the middle of a bingo game, with the suspected faking of a crime and extortion on her rap sheet.
The woman has since been released on bail after questioning, although the case is ongoing as investigators continue to piece together exactly what has occurred amid the sensational allegations.
A spokesperson for the Mossos d’Esquadra police unit said:
“Officers have arrested a 47-year-old Spanish woman for pretending to be deprived of her freedom and claiming her captors were demanding €6,000 (£5,077) to release her alive.
“We were alerted by the husband of the alleged victim, who contacted officers based in Badalona near Barcelona that he had received several mobile phone messages in which his wife told him she had been kidnapped, and advised him on how to act.”
Officers confirmed that the husband of the alleged kidnapping victim was in hospital at the time, and that the woman was found safe and well at the casino hours after the messages were received, where she was arrested.
“Specialists from a kidnap and extortion unit were called in to take charge of the investigation, and were able to discover the woman had not been abducted and had been able to access part of the money her partner had paid as a ransom.”
The case continues….
It’s not the first time that a gambler has faked their own kidnapping. In 2019, Robert Brandel claimed he had been abducted, tied up and left for two days in a truck In Buffalo, USA. But investigating officers noted how calm – and clean shaven – the 60-year-old was, and he was arrested on charges of fraud and filing a false police report.
Brandel, who had allegedly bound and gagged himself, was later claimed to have been trying to get out of paying $50,000 – £37,500 – in lost bets on the Super Bowl.