CHICAGO – FBI agents say a suburban Chicago bank employee just may have saved her fiance's life after he was abducted, bound, shot in the leg and hit in the feet with a wrench by ransom-seeking kidnappers.
Following the signal of an electronic tracking device hidden in a bag of money, FBI agents stormed a Chicago building, freed a hostage who had been shot and tortured, and arrested six people on charges of extorting $40,000 in ransom from a suburban Chicago bank, authorities said Friday.
An employee at the TCF bank in Oak Lawn received calls from her fiance early Thursday in which he warned that he had been kidnapped and that his captors wanted money, according to court papers filed Friday.
The employee notified her boss, who called police, who then called the FBI, said William C. Monroe, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office.
The bank employee "handled it just perfectly" and may well have saved her fiancee's life, Monroe said.
Agents got the $40,000 from the bank and left it near a drop point specified by the callers, then staked out the spot.
Federal agents watched as people in two cars collected the bank bag and brought it to a building on Chicago's South Side, according to court papers.
After forcing the door and freeing the 34-year-old hostage, the agents shot two pit bull attack dogs and chased the other occupants of the house to an upstairs floor where they were arrested, according to the complaint.
Monroe did not identify the alleged hostage or his fiance. He said the man told agents his captors followed him home and abducted him at gunpoint at about 3 a.m. on Thursday. He told agents his captors placed a hood over his head, bound him, pounded on his feet with a wrench, and shot him in the leg, Monroe said.
The six suspects appeared in court Friday afternoon and were ordered held without bond pending hearings. Each is charged with attempting to extort $40,000 from the bank, and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole set hearings for Tuesday, at which the six defendants may try to make bond.
Those charged included Tony Callion, 40, of Riverdale; Daniel Gibbs, 23, of Madison, Wis.; Natalie Hoisington, 22, of Marshall, Wis.; and Sherman Swopes, 25, Israel Collins, 37, and Hal Durham, 44, all of Chicago. Authorities said that Durham is Gibbs' father.
Susan Shatz, Swopes' attorney, declined to comment.
Hoisington's lawyer Nishay Sanan told a reporter that "the lawyers got the complaint about five minutes before you did, and so we are going to wait to see how this plays out to see what roles people played."
He said Hoisington, the only woman arrested, "doesn't seem to fit the profile of the others." He said her family will be coming for the bond hearing Tuesday "to try to get her out."
They are charged with attempting to extort $40,000 from the bank. They face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.