NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD says a man was found bound and beaten in the basement of a Bronx deli and now the hunt is on for his alleged kidnappers.
Authorities told CBS2’s Alice Gainer officers were chasing two suspects into the deli on the corner of Bussing and Digney avenues early Wednesday morning.
When the store’s owner let the officers into the basement, they stumbled upon a 49-year-old man who told police he had been in that basement for three days.
Investigators said the kidnapping victim was allegedly thrown into a car on East 234 Street and White Plains Road by four suspects he was familiar with back on Sept. 7.
The man, who police said has a long criminal record and has been arrested for “everything,” was then allegedly taken to that Bronx deli, tied up, and beaten by the suspects.
“We’re still trying to untangle what exactly transpired there,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.
The NYPD arrested 49-year-old Orinthia Gifford, who lives above the deli, and charged her with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, criminal possession of a weapon, and harassment.
That store owner who let officers into the basement is now on the run. Police identified him as 35-year-old Richard Millwood.
Neighbors said they were shocked to hear of the incident.
“The guys are very nice, good neighbors, very good to me,” Gabriel Hudson said of the deli owner and his employees. “I never suspected he’d be engaging in this.”
“I’ve never seen anything, any behavior to question,” Solomon Weeks added.
Many others – some who don’t want to appear on camera – told CBS2 a different story, saying that it’s a known spot for drugs.
“Every time I walk past they’re always smoking and stuff. And when I went inside that day, the guys come on like ‘Oh, let me get a bag.’ I’m like ‘What’s going on?’ It’s a drug store,” said neighbor Paola Delacruz.
“We have an lot narcotic, and when I say ‘narcotic’ in the particular case, an awful lot of marijuana nexus to this investigation and the individuals involved and what the motive was. Clearly, possibility exists that marijuana and money is at the heart of it,” Shea said.
Police are also still looking for the two suspects they were initially chasing into the deli when they made the startling discovery.
If you have any information on Millwood’s whereabouts, or the other two suspects, you’re asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.