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Private massage ends in kidnapping. Fresno police rescue victim after ransom demand

From left, Joseline Macias-Martinez, Manmit Kaur Bhullar and Antonio Basquez-Watson were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.
From left, Joseline Macias-Martinez, Manmit Kaur Bhullar and Antonio Basquez-Watson were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.

Two women and a man from Turlock are under arrest in Fresno for kidnapping a man who thought he’d merely bargained for a private massage, police said.

Using a shotgun to enforce their demands, the kidnappers took the victim to two banks in failed attempts to get money, Fresno police Sgt. Todd Turney said Wednesday. Then they tried to extort ransom money out of a relative.

That’s when police swooped in and rescued him.

The incident started about 3 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Motel 6 at Highway 99 and Shaw Avenue.

“The victim arranged for a private massage from a stripper,” Turney said. Instead of one woman showing up, however, two appeared.

Then a man holding a shotgun arrived and the private massage morphed into a kidnapping.

“They held him at gunpoint,” Turney said.

The victim later told police he’d never met the suspects before, Turney said.

The robbers took his ATM card and got him to reveal his PIN number. Then one women went to an ATM machine and came back with cash.

She learned how much money was in his bank account, police said. The suspects put him in the back of a car and drove to the Wells Fargo at Shaw and Marks avenues and went inside with him. But they were unsuccessful at getting any money, Turney said.

Then they went to the Golden 1 Credit Union at Shaw and Highway 41, but again left empty handed.

They drove to the Manchester Mall parking lot and called the victim’s relative to demand ransom money, but the relative was broke. They called another relative, who called police.

Police converged on the parking lot and rescued the victim, who was not identified, and arrested the alleged kidnappers.

They were identified as Manmit Kaur Bhullar, 20, Joseline Macias-Martinez, 20, and Antonio Basquez-Watson, 21. All are charged with kidnapping, carjacking and robbery and are being held at the Fresno County Jail.

Madison County prosecutor discusses the 16-year sentence for former massage therapist Ronnie Blom, convicted of sexually assaulting a customer during a massage. Three other women came forward and testified at trial that he had done the same thing

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold

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