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Four Charged With Kidnapping Businessman For Ransom

(STMW) -- Three men and a teenage boy allegedly kidnapped a man from his Belmont Cragin neighborhood residence and held him captive for almost 24 hours in an attempt to get a ransom.

The 31-year-old man was leaving his home in the 2800 block of North Austin Avenue about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday when four masked men forced him into a rental truck at gunpoint then bound him with duct tape, police said.

The kidnappers knew the man and his family from the neighborhood, but did not know them personally, said Area North Sgt. Bryan Holy.

The kidnappers took the man to a vacant storefront on the Northwest Side, where they called his brothers and demanded a ransom, police said.

Detectives pinpointed the general location where the man was being held in the Austin neighborhood and set up surveillance, police said.

A short time later, detectives arranged a ransom drop and arrested two of the kidnappers -- a convicted felon and his 17-year-old nephew, Holy said.

The officers then "forcefully entered" the storefront about 4 a.m. Wednesday. During the raid, the victim broke out a window and called for help as the remaining two kidnappers inside attempted to hide.

The victim, a local businessman with no gang affiliations, was not injured, police said.

Billy Nelson, 38, of the 5400 block of West Potomac Avenue, who police called the "mastermind," was charged with one count of felony kidnapping, police said. Nelson is a felon with previous convictions of delivery of a controlled substance and unauthorized use of a weapon.

Nelson's 17-year-old nephew was also charged with one count of felony kidnapping, police said. His name was not being released because he is a juvenile.

The two other alleged kidnappers, Jerry L. McCullum and Lucus Prentiss, are Nelson's friends, police said. McCullum, 22, of the 1000 block of South Desplaines Street, and Prentiss, 23 of the 5400 block of West Haddon Avenue, were each charged with one count of felony kidnapping.

Judge Laura Sullivan ordered Nelson held on $350,000 bond, Prentiss on $300,000 bond and McCullum on $250,00 bond, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office. They will be back in court Aug. 28.

A loaded .40 caliber handgun was also recovered from the storefront, police said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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