A woman was kidnapped at gunpoint Monday from outside her home in Monroeville. She told police that five men kidnapped her then tied her to a chair inside an abandoned house in Pittsburgh’s Larimer section. She said she was being held for ransom but was able to escape when she was left unguarded for a moment. She said she "hopped" the chair down the street.
On Tuesday morning, just after 2:30 AM, a Ladson Street homeowner called 911, reporting that there was a woman on his porch who was tied to a chair.
The woman, named Christina Quick, was found by police. Except for red marks on her wrists, she appeared unhurt. She was missing her left shoe, and reported that one of her captors punched her in the face.
Two men were charged with kidnapping, among other things. The men were Justice McCallum, age 23, of Penn Hills, and Derrick Duke, age 24, of Swissvale.
Christina Quick’s son, David, reported to police that his mother had parked outside her house Monday night. He said he heard her scream and then watched her car, a white Hyundai Sonata, drive away. He couldn’t see who was behind the wheel, he told police. At some point later, the kidnappers called him.
According to police Ms. Quick’s kidnappers were holding her for an escalating ransom of cash and drugs. They demanded that her son get them $40,000 and four pounds of marijuana at first. During a subsequent call, they asked for $50,000, the marijuana, and two guns. They finally settled for $11,000 when David said that was all that he was able to get them.
David Quick was told by the kidnappers to take the cash to the 6800 block of Kelly Street in Homewood and to leave it in an outside garbage can.
The kidnappers were asked by David Quick for a picture of his mother. The kidnappers instead Facetimed him, showing her tied to a chair with her eyes covered. According to police, it looked like she was in a bathroom.
The FBI was called in by Monroeville police to track Christina Quick’s cell phone. The police in Pittsburgh were asked to begin surveillance on the house in Homewood. While the FBI and the police were making their plans, Mr. Quick left his house in Monroeville and got into his car, intending to give the money to the kidnappers.
Since the officers could not stop David Quick, they raced to the scene ahead of him and tried to set up a way to follow the kidnappers once they had picked up the money.
After David had put the money in the garbage can, someone was spotted by police removing it from the can and then getting into an SUV. The occupants drove off once they realized the police were there.
The SUV sped off through Pittsburgh with police chasing after it. After a couple miles, the passenger in the vehicle bailed out. Police arrested him at Carver Street and Lenore Way. He was identified as Mr. Duke.
McCallum, the driver, kept going, eventually crashing at around 1 AM into a salt truck operated by the city of Pittsburgh. McCallum fled and was captured by police after getting stuck in a fence on Polk Way.
The cash was recovered from the SUV by the police.
The suspects refused to tell police where Ms. Quick was. A police SWAT team from Pittsburgh searched the house on Kelly Street at around 1:22 AM, but didn’t find anyone. This was when the homeowner called the police to report a lady tied to a chair on his porch.
Police say that Ms. Quick told them that when she was kidnapped, the five men punched her in the face, pointed guns at her, told her to be quiet, and shoved her into the backseat of the car. Four of the men were in the car with her as it drove off. She was blindfolded, but heard the kidnappers talking with someone in another car about where to take her.
Duke and McCallum were arraigned, and bail for each was set at $500,000. McCallum was charged with reckless driving and fleeing or attempting to elude police. He and Duke were both charged with unlawful restraint, kidnapping, simple assault, theft by extortion, robbery of a motor vehicle, and recklessly endangering another person.
Every time I think I’ve heard it all, something else happens. It’s sad what drugs will drive a person, or in this case, five people, to do.
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