Threatened in the casino parking lot
Late last month, we reported that George Janssen, a poker player from Bad Axe, Michigan, was safe at home after he was allegedly kidnapped and held for over a month. Recently, more details about the alleged incident came to light.
The only thing that became public knowledge a few weeks ago was that Janssen's family reported him missing on November 13th and that he was found on the side of the road on December 16th, covered in blood and with his hands tied. It was said that he was allegedly kidnapped as part of some kind of blackmail scheme.
New evidence, revealed by Poker news This appears to be confirmed by a public records request. A friend told Monroe County Sheriff's Office detectives that the nightmare began a few years earlier.
A few days before he was reported missing, Janssen told this friend that while he was sitting in his car in a Detroit casino parking garage after a poker tournament, “an unknown masked man pointed a gun at George's head and demanded two million dollars. “”
Janssen told the person he didn't have that much money, and “the man had George drive to a parking lot down the street… (where) he was met by several subjects who gave him a cell phone.”
Two-year extortion program
At this point the situation resembled a movie. For two years, someone contacted Janssen on a cell phone provided by the suspects and gave him instructions to hand over money.
If Janssen placed the money in a specific location, he would sometimes receive a new phone or a note indicating where the next drop would be. The suspects occasionally threatened to harm Janssen's family, presumably if he did not comply with their demands.
Eventually Janssen told people he was running out of money and they told him there would be one final drop for $25,000. It appears he was kidnapped during this final straw. On Nov. 13, the day Janssen was reported missing, a friend found his abandoned car with about $50 bills on the ground.
On December 15, the day before Janssen was found, a family contacted police to show them a handwritten letter from Janssen. It looks like Janssen encoded a message in the letter to inform his family that he had been kidnapped – he referred to names of people they didn't know (and who also don't have pets with those names). ), but to the first letter of each name combined to spell “KIDNAP”.
Investigators also investigated a car dealership that Janssen owns and found that his business account had $2 million in debt and that he had “taken out loans for vehicles that he didn't have the money for,” indicating that that this may have been the source of the blackmail means.
The FBI continues to investigate.