A cross-country kidnapping unraveled in Spokane when the victim escaped three men after a harrowing road trip from Iowa, according to police.
Suspect George Rosenbaum, 34, is accused of snatching the victim from a home in Sioux City, Iowa, with plans to torture and kill him as they sped across Montana. Police say Rosenbaum wanted to keep the victim from testifying against him in an upcoming assault trial in Spokane.
Instead, the victim got away during a gas station stop in the East Central neighborhood Dec. 20.
Investigators say it started when Rosenbaum roused the victim — his former friend — in the early morning hours one day last week and threatened to burn down the house. Rosenbaum and two accomplices stole $700, a cellphone and a leather “Indiana Jones-like hat,” from the victim, according to court documents.
The victim was not allowed to leave the car to use the bathroom, he told investigators. Rosenbaum threatened to kill him in a secluded area near Butte before another car approached and spooked him, according to court documents.
The men pulled their car into a convenience store at Third Avenue and Thor Street around 10 a.m. Friday so Rosenbaum could buy cigarettes, the victim told police. The victim sprinted from the car into a nearby grocery store, where he called police.
According to court records, Rosenbaum appeared at a pretrial hearing about two hours later. When police knocked on his door later that day, Rosenbaum fled in his car and then led officers on a short foot chase.
Rosenbaum denied the accusations and said he and the victim drove alone together to Spokane.
Gas station surveillance footage from Montana, however, showed the two other men the victim described.
Rosenbaum had a gun and wore a bulletproof vest throughout the kidnapping, the victim told police. Rosenbaum posted bond over the weekend and was released, according to jail records.