The landlord was charged and is out on bail on a $50,000 bond. He can't legally evict the tenants until May 1.
The past year has been hard on people with many struggling to keep a job, a roof over their head, and food on the table. State and federal governments have tried to help out by placing moratoriums against evictions but sometimes, the landlords are not pleased by these policies. They end up taking matters into their own hands and forcing people into leaving the rented homes. That could include harassing tenants until they leave. One landlord went too far and was jailed for it.
Shawn Douglas, 48, of Albany, New York, was accused by two tenants of kidnapping them from his property while he was armed with a gun. They claimed that he dumped them in a cemetery 30 miles away in rural New York. He was charged with second-degree kidnapping in connection with the incident, according to the Albany Times-Union.
The tenants claim that he used zip ties and tape on their hands, placed pillowcases over their heads, and drove them at gunpoint to a rural cemetery in Ghent, New York. He left them in the snow before dawn, according to law enforcement sources and police records. The temperature there went down to 8 degrees Fahrenheit on the day they were allegedly captured, according to Vice.com.
Law enforcement confirmed that Shawn was frustrated with the moratoriums against evictions. There were two other people involved in the incident but they have not been charged. The trio allegedly kidnapped the two tenants, who were sleeping at home, assaulted them, and took them to the remote area between 1 am and 8 am.
Shawn restrained a 32-year-old male tenant and a 21-year-old female tenant, according to HuffPost. The male tenant said he was punched and kicked by the landlord, according to Albany Times-Union.
At the cemetery, the female victim was able to free herself and then went looking for help to a nearby house. As per jail records, Shawn was released from Albany County jail on a $50,000 bond. He was previously charged with assault and violating a restraining order. He has owned the multi-unit Grandview Terrace residence, where the incident began, in Albany, New York since 2006.
"He’s lucky they came out of that alive. They could have froze to death out there, whatever the case may be," Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told CBS New York. "You have to be tolerant. There is a process. I didn’t invent it, so don’t call down here to the sheriff’s office screaming and yelling like everybody has been for the last 12 months," he added.
New York has had a moratorium against evictions until May 1, even if it means that the landlord receives no rent. "We know right now we have upwards of 100 (requests) and we know there's hundreds basically in the filing ready to go at city court, town courts, whatever," Apple told ABC 7 NY.
The police have not released any other information about the people involved in the kidnapping but the others could be charged.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by designer491 (Representational Images)