Cop Suspended After Kidnapped Man Found in His Garage, Sources Say
QUEENS — Police have suspended a longtime veteran and detective of the NYPD after a man who had been reported as kidnapped was found bound and gagged inside the garage of the detective's home, sources said.
Ondre Johnson, a member of a Brooklyn gang investigations unit, who had been with the police force for 17 years, was stripped of his badge and weapon and has been suspended after a missing man was found in his Springfield Gardens garage, sources told DNAinfo.com New York.
Johnson was brought in for questioning Friday after the victim's family contacted the NYPD, and calls — that had come from people allegedly demanding $75,000 in ransom money for the return of the victim — traced by the Major Cases Squad led investigators to the detective's home, sources said.
According to sources, Johnson claimed to know nothing about the alleged abduction.
Johnson told police he lived in one apartment of the two-family home, and that his cousin lived in the other apartment, sources said. Property records show that Johnson had owned the home since October, 2009.
A safe that was found in the other apartment contained a stash of contraband, sources said, but the detective claimed to not have ever touched the safe. Cops found paraphernalia used in credit card fraud, including printing presses, unmarked plastic credit cards, and other devices, sources said.
The detective's cousin and two others were taken into custody, and are being charged in connection with the alleged crime, sources said.
Johnson, however, has not yet been charged officially in connection to the case, but is being suspended, sources said.
"He had all the right answers, for now," one source said. "It was not his safe. He does not go in the garage of the other apartment."
Neighbors that lived on Johnson's quiet block said the detective had been stand-offish since the day he moved in.
"I knew something was up," said Mr. Sims, 85, a next-door neighbor, who did not want his first name used. He said expensive vehicles were often parked in front of Johnson's house, and there was activity at all hours. "They all had nice cars," he added.
"I was definitely suspicious because I saw people coming and going," sometimes as late as 3 a.m., he said.
"I didn't know his name. I'd just say 'Hi,' he said." When Johnson moved in, Sims said he renovated several parts of the house, including the garage, and erected a white, solid fence and gate, blocking the house's sides and yard from view.
"We know all the other people, because we're all friends," he said, on the block, "but not them."