Men lured to home by Facebook post before being ‘viciously tortured,’ police say
PLANT CITY, Fla. — Four people are behind bars after police say they lured victims via Facebook post to a Plant City home, where they were then robbed, beaten, and kidnapped the victims. One man is still on the run with an active arrest warrant, according to WFTS.
The Plant City Police Department arrested Thomas Nolasco, Joshua Rodriguez, Melissa Long and Carina Bailon in connection to the luring. According to a search warrant, the victims were beaten, robbed, and kept overnight against their will.
According to Plant City police, at least three men were lured to the home in the 900 block of W. Risk Street in mid-June under the guise of socializing with an attractive woman. When they arrived, the woman met them in the driveway and escorted them inside. Then the victims were robbed and “viciously tortured” and beaten. Investigators say they were beaten, kicked, and pistol whipped overnight.
Investigators said the victims were held against their will. The suspects threatened to harm the victims’ families if they didn’t cooperate. The suspects then forced the victims into their cars and made them take out money from various bank accounts via ATM machines.
When they allegedly took all their money, the suspects dumped the victims, but kept their cars, money, and cellphones.
Plant City police need help finding a fifth suspect identified as 19-year-old James T. Smith. He’s got an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The warrant said Nolasco spoke to Long from the jail phone. The calls were recorded. The documents said Nolasco contacted Long from another inmate’s account “thinking he could speak freely.” It said they discussed the kidnapping case thoroughly over several days.
During one of the conversations, Long stated the police left with numerous items of evidence that she disposed of already. She told Nolasco the police had several phones as evidence. She asked Nolasco what videos were on the phone.
When he asked which one, she replied, “The videos that would [expletive] make their day.” Nolasco told her, “No, I never recorded none of that.” Long told him, “You did though. There’s videos in that phone.”
Plant City police found numerous phones in the home, including a Samsung identified by the suspects in their jail conversation to potentially have incriminating videos.
The suspects face numerous charges, including armed kidnapping, robbery, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, and grand theft motor vehicle.