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Trio kidnaps boy at gunpoint, demands ransom, police say

Updated May 30, 2024 - 6:57 am

Las Vegas police arrested three suspects they allege kidnapped a child at gunpoint Saturday and held him against his will for about six hours while they demanded a ransom from his parents.

Stephen Smith, 45, Savannah Schmitt, 31, and Christian Scarlett, 31, were booked into the Clark County Detention Center on kidnapping, child abuse and extortion-related counts, records show.

In interviews with police, the suspects alleged that the victim and a group of juveniles had stolen an electric bicycle worth about $4,000, which is the amount they demanded in exchange for his release, according to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report.

After the bicycle was taken, the suspects jumped into an unregistered SUV and followed a car that led them to a convenience store at 9775 W. Russell Road, police said.

Witnesses told investigators that two men got out of the SUV and began threatening the group of children, forcing one of them to go with them, said police, alleging that the two suspects had threatened a bystander who tried to intervene.

The suspects and the child ended up in a nearby apartment, where the 15-year-old boy said they put a pillowcase over his head and terrorized him with a gun, police said.

His parents received a call instructing them to pay $4,000 for his safe return, police said.

The callers had identified themselves as “Big Red” and “Pretty,” both of whom were known to authorities as Smith and Schmitt, who are a couple, police said.

Investigators responded to their known address where they rescued the boy without further incident, police said.

The suspects told police that the boy had agreed to go with them, according to their report.

The trio remained jailed as of Wednesday.

They were next due in court June 12, according to records.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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