A Florida man was kidnapped with his ex-wife last month, beaten, held in a trunk overnight, released -- then arrested as a fugitive for a 23-year-old Mesa kidnapping.
Guido Jesus Puccini, 56, now enroute to Maricopa County following extradition proceedings, Florida police confirm.
The December 4 kidnapping has no connection to Puccini's conviction in the early 1990s for attempted child molesting and kidnapping, authorities say.
Records show Puccini had been living in the coastal town of Port St. Lucie, Florida, under the name of Jose Querbino Puccini (in addition to his real name, it seems), and that he owns a small auto-repair shop.
After being kidnapped last month, he called his ex-wife's son, not police. But his worried relative quickly alerted the authorities.
Cops responding to the call found Puccini sitting on a curb in a neighborhood unfamiliar to him, in pain, with scratches and swollen wrists. He told police that he and his ex-wife, Gloria Jaramillo, with whom he still lives and works, came home together from work the previous day and were accosted by three black men wearing masks and brandishing pistols.
Puccini and Jaramillo were blindfolded and taken to a bedroom. The thieves went through the house looking for valuables and asking Puccini about a "large amount of money."
Master Sergeant Frank Sabol of the Port St. Lucie Police Department says the kidnappers apparently had targeted the wrong people -- they were looking for the owner of a car dealership.
Puccini told them he was poor and received a punch to the back of the head. The kidnappers bound Puccini's wrists with duct tape and threw the couple in the trunk of a car, where they were held all night. They were taken to a home that reeked of pot where Puccini was allowed to use the restroom.
The next day, the kidnapper dropped off both victims at different locations.
Police investigating Puccini's home, now a crime scene, found "Jose's" driver's license, but also another driver's license and Venezuelan passport in the name of Guido Puccini.
"We noticed the same photo of him on different IDs with different names," Sabol says. Police turned the information over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the agency informed them that Puccini was a fugitive from Maricopa County.
Puccini was arrested in 1992 by Mesa police and convicted after a trial on one count of kidnapping and one count of attempted child molestation. He was found not guilty by the jury of two counts of child molestation.
After the jury verdict, Puccini fled from Arizona.
When confronted with the information, he admitted he'd been living under an alias, Sabal says. Puccini was soon sitting in a jail cell, awaiting the extradition that Sabol says is now underway.
We asked Mesa police to pull the police report, if it's still available, for details about the old case. We'll include some of that information here when we get it.
WPBF-TV in Florida got an interesting interview with Jaramillo's son, who told a reporter "his mother has been hiding out for two weeks -- first traumatized by the kidnapping, and now by the revelation of her husband's past.
Jaramillo is "scared, confused and betrayed," Hance told the news station. "She knew none of this."
Sabol admits police have mixed feelings about this one.
"We were happy to be able to conclude your guys' search for this individual," he says. "But on the other hand, the [December] kidnapping was legitimate. They're still victims of a horrendous crime. Our investigation is ongoing, but it hinders our investigation now that he's being extradited."
A request for comment from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office was not immediately returned.
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