5 Bizarre Plots To Kidnap Celebrities
Celebrities have millions of dollars. That's more money than you and I have put together, so it seems only fair that we kidnap a celeb or two, ransom them, and get our fair share. No one even needs to get hurt! But they will. Somebody always gets hurt in these things -- usually the kidnappers. Look at how ...
Police Foiled A Plot To Kidnap Justin Bieber (And Castrate Two Other Guys)
Dana Martin wasn't your typical Justin Bieber fan. At 43, he was slightly older than most Beliebers. He was also in prison. But Martin still loved the 16-year-old singer (this was 2011). "He just seemed to purr," he would explain. The man even got a prison tattoo of Bieber's face on his calf, which he'd shave for maximum visibility. "I always tell people you need to have a shaved Bieber," he'd joke. "Believe me, you do not want a hairy Bieber." Martin was in prison for raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl, by the by.
Anyway, he wrote Bieber hundreds of letters. Over time, these messages turned angry, mostly because Justin never wrote back, and Martin thought it was fucked up he didn't answer fans. But also because Justin was growing up and changing his style, which didn't sit right with Martin at all. Finally, in May 2012, he sent Bieber an ultimatum, promising to "do something nasty" to him unless he got a reply. He attached his criminal record to make the threat look legit. He received no response. There could be a couple reasons for this, one being that he mailed the letter to Ellen DeGeneres instead of Bieber directly (seriously).
So Martin decided Bieber had to die. He conspired with Mark Staake, a fellow inmate about to be paroled. First, Staake and nephew Tanner would kill two men in Vermont to settle old scores of Martin's. He insisted that Staake strangle them with paisley neckties (which was how Martin had killed that girl), then castrate them with hedge clippers. Next they were to head to New York, where Bieber was playing a concert at Madison Square Garden. They'd shoot his bodyguard, then abduct him and take him somewhere private. Then they'd kill him too, obviously. These things never end with like a pajama jammy jam or something.
But Staake and Ruane never made it to Bieber, or even to the far more vulnerable Vermont targets. They took a wrong turn and drove into Canada, violating Staake's parole and getting them caught. Martin ended up pleading guilty to conspiring to kill the Vermont men in exchange for authorities dropping the charges for conspiring to kill Bieber. He's still in prison, and is likely more disillusioned than ever with Bieber these days.
A Studio Had The Mafia Kidnap Sammy Davis Jr. To Keep Him From Marrying A White Woman
In the 1950s, Columbia Pictures wanted to make their stars as big and as bankable as possible. President Harry Cohn very specifically wanted a handcrafted blonde bombshell whom they could depend on, and he found her in Kim Novak. He dyed her hair extra blonde, made her lose 15 pounds, changed her name (her real name was Marilyn, and Hollywood already had a Marilyn), then he made her a star. Everything was going great ... until she went and got engaged to Sammy Davis Jr.
Novak marrying anyone would have been bad news for Cohn. Her predecessor at Columbia, Rita Hayworth, had married thrice, losing star power each time. But marrying Davis was extra bad. "Who's going to go see a movie star who's married to a black man?" said Cohn, according to a reporter who wrote about the engagement (and whom Cohn tried to silence). Confronting Novak about the matter could backfire, as it might mean losing her altogether, so Cohn confronted Davis instead. Using his mob connections.
The record on exactly what happened next is a little murky. According to one account, Cohn called in gangster Johnny Rosselli (the pair were so close that they shared a pair of ruby friendship rings). Rosselli kidnapped Davis, and kept him captive until he agreed to call the engagement off. The FBI received reports of this, but were unable to confirm it -- they noted that maybe Davis invented the story to drum up publicity. That's possible, but falsely accusing real mobsters is a dangerous way of chasing publicity. And the FBI appear to have been prejudiced against Davis. Their files on him brush over multiple threats on his life, and instead concentrate on his "questionable activities" (such as visits with Martin Luther King and making speeches supporting racial equality).
According to Davis' father, the next threat came from famous LA gangster Mickey Cohen, who approached Davis Sr. and said the Chicago mob had ordered a hit on his son, but he'd call it off if the boy found a new bride within 24 hours. And this time, his pick had to be a nonwhite girl. Davis Jr. conceded, breaking things off with Novak and quickly marrying a black woman he'd once dated, Loray White. The two never lived together, and he paid her off to dissolve the union fairly soon afterward. Still, he did manage to escape the Mafia breaking both his legs or poking out his one good eye.
Kidnappers Went After Rupert Murdoch's Wife. They Got The Wrong Woman, And Killed Her
In 1969, Rupert Murdoch went on British television and talked to presenter David Frost about spending millions on his conquest of London's newspapers. Watching this show were brothers Arthur and Nizamodeen Hosein, who came to the conclusion that wow, this guy had a whole lot of money. So they tailed Murdoch's Rolls-Royce for a while to find out where he lived, broke into that Wimbledon house a few days later, and made off with the woman inside. They had kidnapped Anna Murdoch! Or so they thought.
The Murdochs were actually out of town, and had lent their Rolls to an underling at News Corp, Alick McKay. The kidnappers had abducted his wife, Muriel. And they weren't terribly happy with that outcome, as the McKays weren't exactly Murdoch-rich. Eternally optimistic, the Hoseins sent a ransom demand for the equivalent of $16 million. It was more than Alick McKay had, but police still worked with him to try drop-offs to nab the criminals. One officer disguised himself as the McKays' son, and another went as a chauffeur, and they drove to a meeting spot.
It didn't work. The Hoseins realized police were there and didn't show. They called Alick and said they were going to kill Muriel now because he'd brought the cops in, then changed their minds and allowed for a second drop-off. This one failed too, but police tracked a car seen in the area to a pig farm, and fingerprints at the farm matched those on the ransom note. Yet they found no sign of Muriel. It's generally accepted that the brothers killed her and fed her remains to the pigs. So there it is, the one story where you actually root for Rupert Murdoch and his cronies.
Junior Mobsters Kidnapped Jimi Hendrix ... And Then A Senior Mobster Ordered Him Released And Beat Them Up
In September of 1969, Jimi Hendrix strolled into the New York club Salvation. He was looking for heroin, and was pretty much willing to follow anyone who claimed to have any. This is often the case with heroin addicts, you'll find. That's when a couple of young Italian men in the club -- neither of whom were officially with the Mafia, but who really wanted to be -- saw an opportunity. They hustled Hendrix off with them and took him to their house. They kept him there for two days. Hendrix was in all likelihood extremely high throughout this period; he didn't make any attempt to escape, and possibly didn't even know what was happening. This is often the case with heroin addicts, you'll find. His captors then contacted his manager with demands. Money, probably. Or maybe they were looking for a record deal, we don't know.
But when they'd yanked Hendrix out of Salvation, the man who ran the place saw them, and he phoned the club's owner. Said owner was John Riccobono, a made man with more than enough power to knock some sense into a couple of wannabes. The way Riccobono would tell the story, he phoned the kidnappers and said, "You let Jimi go, or you are dead. Do not harm a hair of his afro." Then a week after they released Hendrix, afro intact, he hunted them down and beat them up anyway. His account is a little self-aggrandizing, but Rolling Stone looked into it and concluded that it mostly happened that way. Only problem was that the whole affair sent cops sniffing around Salvation, leading them to tie Riccobono to a prior murder, and soon he was the one facing death threats. This is the circle of Mafia life.
A Gunman Shot Four On The Way To Grabbing A Princess
Back in 1974, Queen Elizabeth's daughter Princess Anne was a major celebrity, and she'd caused a bit of a scandal by marrying a muggle, Mark Phillips. All eyes were on her, including those of a schizophrenic man named Ian Ball. Ball spent a year putting together a plan to kidnap Anne, wanting to ransom her and donate the proceeds to the NHS to fund the nation's psychiatric services. His goal was not exactly typical for a kidnapper, and neither was any other part of his scheme, which involved Queen Elizabeth placing 3 million pounds in 20 suitcases and personally flying solo to a drop-off point in Switzerland. Ball also had a secret weapon: two handguns smuggled from Spain. If that sounds unimpressive, note that the London policer officers he expected to face carried no guns at all.
On March 20, Ball blocked Princess Anne's limo with his Ford, then rattled at its doors with a pistol in each hand. Anne had only one bodyguard, and he did carry a gun, but it jammed. Ball shot him three times. The chauffeur then realized it was his time to shine and tried to intervene, so Ball shot him too. Next came a nearby police officer, whom Ball also shot. A tabloid reporter happened to be close enough and tried to talk the gunman down. Ball shot him as well.
With the car doors open, Ball tried to yank Anne out, and her husband tried to yank her back. Her dress split open in the tussle, and when Ball commanded her to come with him, she replied, "Bloody likely," and stayed put. Finally, another passerby who happened to be an amateur boxer managed to punch Ball until he panicked and fled, then an unarmed detective tackled him. Ball was committed to a mental hospital for the rest of his life. Every single person he'd shot recovered fully, and they spent the remainder of their own lives exuding a magical glow, which is the Universe's reward for saving a princess.
For more, check out Why The Cops Won't Help You When You're Getting Stabbed:
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