One of two men suspected of kidnapping a Connecticut doctor from the Brooklyn Mirage and forcing him on a multi-thousand-dollar shopping spree was released on the “promise to appear” at his court date. However after his release, police discovered that he gave the court a false phone number and address.
42-year-old Anthony Benjamin and co-defendant Steve Daley allegedly picked up Michael Bautista, the 32-year-old doctor from Connecticut, outside of the Brooklyn Mirage late after a show. The two kidnapped the doctor and took him around the Bronx, forcing him to spend over $6,100 on anything the kidnappers could think of, from clothing and shoes, to haircuts, food, and even a strip club outing. Bautista was threatened throughout the experience, being told by Benjamin that he was “packing” and “if you do anything funny, I’ll kill you.”
Benjamin and Steve were both arrested that night after Bautista convinced them to take him back to Connecticut so that he would be able to go to work that morning. They agreed and once Bautista was inside, he was able to alert security of the kidnapping. Benjamin was charged with second-degree kidnapping with a firearm and possession of a controlled substance, while Steve Daley was charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping.
The kidnappers both faced hefty bail amounts after they were charged, with Daley facing $250,000 and Benjamin facing a whopping $1 million. Despite bails not being met and the seriousness of the pair’s offenses, the two were released after promising to show up in court for their next hearing in September.
The Norwalk police were given contact information and an address from Benjamin which have both turned out to be out-dated or false. Police discovered the phone number he gave them actually belonged to a woman with no knowledge of Anthony Benjamin. The address he had given the court also turned out to be a dead end. The address was the home of Benjamin’s “baby mama” who told reporters that Benjamin had not lived there in nearly 5 years.
Benjamin’s attorney, Benjamin Aponte, as well as Norwalk Police Department do not seem overly concerned with the missing defendant. Aponte has not commented on his missing client and Det. Sgt. Young from the Norwalk Police Department told reporters that not being able to find him “for an interview [is] not [his] problem.”