Omaha man accused of faking his own kidnapping, demanding money from relatives

An Omaha man’s apparent attempt to get money from family members could land him in prison.

The 29-year-old faces up to six years behind bars after being charged with extortion and theft by deception. He is accused of faking his own kidnapping and demanding $10,000, first from an aunt and then from his father.

The man was arrested Friday, according to an affidavit filed in Washington County.

About 2:30 p.m. June 1, a woman from Arlington, Nebraska, received a text message demanding $10,000 for her nephew’s safe return.

“This is Zeus. I need $10,000 by 6 o’clock tonight and I’ll let him go,” the message said. “No police! Or you’ll forever regret it.”

The woman contacted her nephew’s father in Nickerson, Nebraska, who had received a similar message about five hours later. Both messages were from the same cellphone number, investigators said.

“I said no police! I have (the man’s name) and no one seems to take this seriously!!,” the message to the father said. “Say this one last time have what I want by tomorrow noon or you wish you would have listened.”

Deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office were contacted and pinged the location of the alleged kidnap victim’s cellphone. The cellphone led deputies to the man’s residence near 101st and State Streets. Deputies went to the location and found the man “attempting to hide under a bed in the master bedroom,” according to the affidavit.

The man told deputies he had been abducted by friends he met in prison, “but they let him go when they didn’t get the money,” the affidavit said. Investigators later determined that the phone number from which the texts came had been forwarded from a phone number belonging to the man.

Records from the Nebraska Department of Corrections show the man was convicted in 2013 of two counts of possession of a controlled substance and served three years and three months in prison.

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