3 face extortion charges in fake kidnapping

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By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Three people face extortion charges after faking a kidnapping Nov. 20 in an alleged attempt to get ransom from one of the alleged perpetrator’s former girlfriend and from his mother.

Matthew Brown, 26; Kenneth Pininiemi, 38; and Lindsay Johnson, 34, were arraigned on extortion charges Nov. 22 in 27th District Court by Judge Randy Kalmbach.

At the arraignment, Brown was given a $50,000, 10 percent bond; Johnson a $20,000, 10 percent bond and Pinoniemi a $25,000, 10 percent bond.

Brown’s former girlfriend, who said she had not spoken to him for several days, said she arrived home at 3 a.m. Nov. 20 and saw his vehicle being driven by Johnson, who pulled the vehicle alongside hers, and demanded money from her if she wanted to see Brown alive again.

She then drove to an ATM, withdrew $280, and gave it to the woman. However, when the kidnappers failed to call her back, she went to Brown’s mother for help. The ex and mother then went to the police station at 3:24 p.m. Nov. 20 to report the situation.

The kidnappers then demanded an additional $2,000 in cash, in small unmarked bills, and warned the women not to contact the police. They also sent a photo showing Brown lying on the ground is distress, with bruising on his face. The mother then replied by text that she would meet their demands.

The next morning police went to a house in the 2100 block of Second Street, and found Brown’s vehicle hidden in an adjacent garage. Believing Brown’s life to be in danger, police entered the house, where they found Brown with his alleged abductors, Pininiemi and Johnson. Evidence of crack cocaine use also was found on the premises.

After being taken into custody, the three confessed to the hoax to get money from the women.

Their next scheduled court date was Nov. 30 in 27th District Court (results unavailable at press time).

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)