NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former Stuyvesant High School librarian and a police official at a Massachusetts veterans hospital have been arrested on charges they plotted to rape and murder women.
The charges against Robert Christopher Asch, 61, and Richard Meltz, 65, are contained in court papers. The men are expected to make appearances Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, a team of FBI agents spent long hours at the fifth-floor apartment at 33 Greenwich Ave. in the West Village, where Asch lived.
Asch, the retired librarian, and Meltz, a deputy chief with the Department of Veterans Affairs Police Department, were charged with kidnapping conspiracy.
“He seemed very, very nice,” said Isabell Coffey, a neighbor of Asch’s. “He was always polite and actually very sweet; shocked, you know?”
EXTRA: (WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT AND LANGUAGE) Read The Full Criminal Complaint
Sources told 1010 WINS this case is connected to the so-called “cannibal cop” case of former NYPD officer Gilberto Valle, who was found guilty last month in a plot to kidnap, kill and eat women. Valle is currently awaiting sentencing.
A Valle co-defendant, Michael Van Hise, allegedly e-mailed both Asch and Meltz about kidnapping and killing his wife.
Asch and Meltz are charged with conspiring from at least the spring of 2011 until Monday to carry out the plot, according to the criminal complaint.
“As alleged, both of these defendants took affirmative steps to carry out the conspiracy to kidnap and torture women,” FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said in a statement. “Their actions were not confined to talking about these ghoulish plans. They acquired the tools to accomplish the deed, including a taser and the chemical means to anesthetize their victims. And they made detailed plans to use these instruments — plans that were foiled by the FBI’s intervention.”
They also acquired a ski mask, handcuffs and a hypodermic needle, federal authorities said.
The FBI said the men responded last October to online solicitations from Van Hise.
“…how do you propose we grab my sis inlaw [sic],” the co-conspirator said, according to court papers.
“We go over there she knows you let’s [sic] us in we choke her out tie her up throw her in the back of your car take her someplace and slowly do her,” Meltz allegedly said, according to court papers.
Asch also allegedly wrote to Van Hise: “What’s your feeling about the kids. Do you love them, or do you want them done too?”
The two also allegedly discussed killing, dismembering and disposing of their victims, according to the complaint.
Asch also allegedly performed undercover surveillance on an agent acting as a would-be “victim,” saying, “She has to die.”
Meltz allegedly told Asch he had killed before, saying: “Some prey is easier to get than others. That’s part of the excitement and the thrill of it. Some fight and others just surrender.”
Late Monday afternoon, a federal judge ordered both men held without bond.
A defense lawyer told the judge Meltz made a half-hearted attempt at suicide in his jail cell Sunday night.
Asch was arrested in 2009 for alleged improper touching of several students. But the charges were later dropped.
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