New York Man Fakes His Own Abduction With Duct Tape and Rope After Losing $50,000 Super Bowl Bet, Police Say

Police in New York arrested a man this week for allegedly faking his own kidnapping because he was unable to pay out money on a Super Bowl betting scheme.

Robert Brandel, 60, of North Tonawanda, was detained and charged on Wednesday with falsely reporting an incident and running a scheme to defraud, state police said. Troopers visited a Tops parking lot shortly after 2:30 p.m. and found the suspect tied up in a vehicle.

The man told investigators that he was targeted in his car by two men involved in a Super Bowl squares pool he was running. The men, he said, had a pistol and stole $16,000 from him.

New York State Police said in a release yesterday Brandel claimed the men made him drive around Western New York for two days against his will. He said they tied him up in the back seat and left him in the Tops parking lot on Tuesday. But his tale was fabricated, officials believe.

"This guy ran a football pool, a $50,000 payout football pool. [He] came up with a couple different ways where he could make money off of it and eventually fell flat. And now he can't make the money up to the people who obviously or eventually won this football pool," state trooper James O'Callaghan told local media outlet WKBW this week after Brandel's arrest.

Squares are a popular method of betting on football games, including the Super Bowl. Players pay money to enter the game and are assigned a "square" on a board. Money is won by chance, based on the outcome of the 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter, and final game scores.

Investigators allege Brandel made up names on some of the squares "hoping to win and take most of the winnings." But his plan seemingly failed and he was unable to make the payouts. According to the police department the suspect was short for most of the $50,000 owed.

When state troopers located his vehicle—a blue Ford F-150—he was in the back seat with a rope tied around his neck. The rope had been attached to a headrest and his hands and ankles were bound with duct tape, police said. Despite a case being opened, O'Callaghan told WKBW that the story quickly fell apart.

The trooper said the man's demeanor had stood out. "A person that's abducted and has gone through something like that, their heart rate would be very high, they're very worried, depressed, a lot of emotions that will be bubbling up," he stated.

Brandel was processed at SP Lockport police station. He is scheduled to appear before New York's Newfane Court in March. It was not immediately clear if the man had an attorney.