Lifestyle & Belief

Pedro Portugal, Ecuadorean businessman, found in New York after kidnapping


The lower Manhattan skyline shows One World Trade Center April 27, 2012, in New York. By Monday April 30, 2012, the rising steel frame of One World Trade Center is expected to become the tallest building in New York City and in the Western Hemisphere.



NEW YORK – Police have rescued an Ecuadorean businessman who was kidnapped in New York City and held hostage for a month while his captors demanded his family pay a $3 million ransom.

Three men forced Queens accounting company owner Pedro Portugal into an SUV in broad daylight on April 18, then hid him in a warehouse in Long Island City, Queens. They called his mother in Quito, Ecuador, and said he would not be released until they received $3 million.

New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly said the family did not have enough cash to pay the ransom, according to the Associated Press. "It's something that we're still investigating to see why these people thought that $3 million might have been available," Kelly said.

Portugal’s captors kept the 52-year-old bound and hooded, burned his hands with acid and beat him, Reuters reported.

A team of officers found Portugal and three of his captors on Monday, after detectives who had been monitoring phone calls noticed a suspiciously large number of pizza deliveries to a deserted warehouse district in Queens, the AP reported.

Prosecutors have charged three men with kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment. They are being held without bail.

The man the kidnappers say hired them to kidnap and guard Portugal – for $800 a week – has not been found.