2007-01-10 / Front Page

South Amboy man kidnapped, beaten

Three charged in Dec. 26 incident; two still at large
BY TOM CAIAZZA Staff Writer

BY TOM CAIAZZA
Staff Writer

EDISON - - Three men are in custody after allegedly kidnapping a 20-year-old South Amboy man, holding him for seven hours, beating him and eventually extorting his family out of $1,000, according to police.

On Dec. 26, according to police, the unnamed victim was visiting a friend at JFK Medical Center in Edison and was reportedly abducted by Gikky Sharma, a 19-year-old Iselin man. According to police, Sharma stole the victim's car keys and cell phone and coaxed him into the parking lot, where he was abducted, put in the back of a red PT Cruiser and beaten by three other suspects.

The victim was the friend of a man who allegedly owed $3,000 to this group of people, Edison Police Lt. Joseph Shannon said. The suspects were attempting to track down the person who owed them the money and thought they could use the friend as a means to that end, according to Shannon.

Ravinder Singh, 23, of Carteret was charged with kidnapping, theft by extortion, and aggravated assault. Rohnak N. Patel, 18, of Iselin was charged with kidnapping and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Sunny Patel, 22, of Iselin was charged with kidnapping, and all men have been remanded to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center, North Brunswick, without bail.

Shannon said that the crime looked more like that of opportunity and less like gang-related violence.

"It doesn't appear to be a gang-related activity," Shannon said, "just a group of friends."

The victim appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It was more a crime of opportunity," Shannon said. "He was in the hospital visiting a friend and the suspects recognized him."

Shannon said the suspects inconspicuously removed the victim from a hospital elevator and coaxed him into the parking lot, unbeknown to hospital security.

The suspects allegedly drove to Elizabeth and picked up another man, Ravinder Singh, all the while punching the victim in the face, arms and upper torso as they drove, police said.

They eventually returned to Edison and parked toward the rear of Dayton Drive, where a cadre of others were waiting, police said.

According to police, approximately 15 people were waiting for the victim, five of whom allegedly further punched, kicked and struck the victim with wooden stick-like weapons.

After the beating, the victim was returned to the car, where the suspects demanded $3,000 for his release. The number was eventually lowered to $1,000. The money, which Shannon said had yet to be recovered, was paid out by the victim's mother and friend via an ATM. The suspects released the victim after receiving the money. The ordeal ended around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 27, seven hours after it began.

The victim suffered a broken nose and numerous bruises and contusions to his face and torso.

Gikky Sharma and Hemantsha Joshi, 19, of Edison remain at large and have warrants out for their arrest.

Shannon said the investigation is still open and that warrants for the people involved in the Dayton Drive incident may be coming.

"There may be more complaints signed," Shannon said.

Police urge anyone with information to contact the Edison Police Department Detective Bureau at (732) 248-7538.

When asked for a possible motive behind the kidnapping, Shannon said it was financial, citing "the whole money angle."

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