Kidnap, extortion attempt reported
Two men were allegedly kidnapped Wednesday, forced to strip down to their underwear and allowed to walk home in what police described as an attempted extortion to collect a debt, according to court records.
But the victims were allowed to keep their cellphones.
They used them to call 911.
Grand Junction residents Enyinna Irechukwu and Donte Barnett, both 22, were advised Friday on possible charges including first- and second-degree kidnapping, robbery and theft, one day after their arrests by Grand Junction police. Irechukwu had been free after posting $50,000 bond on Aug. 9 following his arrest on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute a schedule 1 controlled substance. Public Defender Matt Mulch told a judge Friday Irechukwu is a senior at Colorado Mesa University.
Officers who responded to a reported robbery around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday came across two men wearing only their underwear walking near 13th Street and Bookcliff Avenue, according to an arrest affidavit.
The affidavit said the men gave consistent stories: They were in the parking lot near Blockbuster at 12th and Patterson Road when they were approached by a four-door Mercedes occupied by Irechukwu and Barnett. An “angry and intimidating” Irechukwu ordered them to get in the back seat, the affidavit said.
Irechukwu locked the car doors and they drove to an apartment at 1237 Bookcliff Ave., where Irechukwu locked a deadbolt behind them when they walked inside.
“Once inside Enyinna told them ‘give me all your (expletive)’, telling them to take off their clothes and other things including earrings,” the affidavit said.
Irechukwu allegedly threatened to “knock them out” if he didn’t get paid.
“(Men) both stated they believed they would be assaulted if they did not comply and described Enyinna as being much more vocal than Donte,” the affidavit continues. “(Irechukwu) stated he was going to keep their property until he got paid.”
The men left.
“They were allowed to keep their cellphones and called police after walking a short distance from the apartment,” the affidavit said.
In an interview, Barnett denied any knowledge of the incident.
Irechukwu, however, confirmed most of the victims’ story but insisted they were in his apartment voluntarily. He said they owed him $100 each. He denied making any threats and insisted the men left their clothes behind voluntarily.
“Enyinna was vague on why these two would agree to do this without being forced or pressured,” the affidavit said.