Wednesday, April 16, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor's father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.
Federal authorities unsealed kidnapping charges Wednesday against Jakym Tibbs and Quantavious Thompson, who's known by the street name "Kirkwood Quan." Kirkwood is a neighborhood in Atlanta. The FBI said the men should be considered armed and dangerous, and the agency offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to their arrest.
Six other people were accused last week in the scheme following a late-night raid by the FBI on an Atlanta apartment. Rescued was Frank Arthur Janssen, 63, a Wake Forest man whose daughter is an assistant district attorney in Wake County.
Authorities said the kidnappers made demands for the benefit of Kelvin Melton, an inmate serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for a 2011 shooting. The victim's daughter, Colleen Janssen, prosecuted Melton, 49.
Also known as "Dizzy" and "Old Man," Melton had a mobile phone in his cell at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, exchanging at least 123 calls and text messages with the alleged kidnappers, according to the FBI. Authorities closed in on the suspects by tracking their mobile phones and listening to their calls.
"My office will continue to pursue everyone involved with this crime," said Thomas G. Walker, the U.S. attorney in Raleigh. "This deliberate attack on our judicial system cannot be tolerated."
Frank Janssen was kidnapped April 5 from his home and driven in a rented hatchback to Atlanta, where he was held for five days before his rescue.
According to the criminal complaint against Tibbs, the kidnappers had stopped at a McDonalds in Lexington, S.C., during their trip north. A receipt from that McDonalds was later found on the floor at Janssen's home, where it was apparently dropped during a scuffle.
Authorities later recovered security camera footage from the McDonalds showing Tibbs and another male suspect, according to the complaint.
Once back in Atlanta, the kidnappers sent Janssen's wife photos of him tied to a chair along with text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if their demands weren't met. Authorities have not said specifically what the demands were.
According to testimony from his 2012 trial, Melton is a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang from New York City who ordered a 19-year-old subordinate to travel to Raleigh and kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.
Court records show Melton has a long record of felony convictions in New York, the first being a 1979 robbery committed when he was 14. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery in 1998 and served more than 13 years in New York prisons before being released in August 2011.
Melton was arrested in the shooting in Raleigh the following month. It is not clear from the court record why Melton came to the South, but he was supposed to be serving parole in New York through 2015.
According to court filings, the FBI monitored a phone call made by Melton from his prison cell to an Atlanta number associated with the kidnappers during which two male voices discussed how to kill Janssen and dispose of his body.
Following the call, authorities tried to enter Melton's cell and he smashed the phone. A few hours later, they located Janssen in Atlanta.
When making the arrests, authorities also recovered a .45-caliber handgun, picks and a shovel, according to the FBI.
Melton faces a federal kidnapping charge, along with five people from the Atlanta metro area who were denied bond at a court hearing Tuesday.
Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Follow Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck