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Las Vegas woman charged in kidnapping, extorting homeless man

A Las Vegas woman faces kidnapping and extortion charges after she allegedly locked a homeless man in her bathroom for over a week.

On Saturday police were called to the Bank of America at 920 N. Martin Luther King Blvd. after a man told employees that he was being held against his will by 59-year-old Wanda Thomas, who brought him to the bank to open a new account under his name.

According to Thomas’ arrest report, she offered to let the man stay at her apartment because he had helped her when she was homeless. But when he arrived at the apartment, Thomas and her roommate ordered him to strip naked and locked him in a bathroom.

For eight days, Thomas and the woman threatened the man with a knife and ordered him to give them his banking PIN, according to the report. They didn’t feed the man for those eight days “in order to keep him real weak,” the report states.

Thomas told the man that she had a gun and would kill him if he didn’t give her his money, according to the report. The man gave Thomas several fake PINs, the report states, and he was beaten after he refused to withdraw $2,000 from an ATM at a different bank.

On Saturday, the man woke to find Thomas standing over him with a knife to his throat, according to the arrest report. She took him to the Bank of America to open a new account, which she could access, but tried to leave when she found out the man didn’t have any money in his account.

While Thomas and the man tried to open the account, the man managed to alert bank staff he was being held against his will, and a manager called police. Officers arrived at the bank before Thomas could leave and she was taken into custody.

Police searched Thomas’ apartment and found luggage and paperwork belonging to the homeless man, as well as the knife used to threaten him and a small caliber revolver.

Thomas was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Saturday on one count each of kidnapping, burglary and extortion, and is being held on $30,000 bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 18.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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