Kidnap Victim Tells Of Terrifying Experience

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

Police have made three arrests in connection to a robbery that occurred outside a Blue Moon Fitness center in Omaha Tuesday night.

The victims, 24-year-old Joel and 19-year-old Katelin, told officers they were leaving the location northwest of 108th and West Maple Road just before 11 p.m. when two men approached them and one pulled a gun.

"He wanted us to know that I don't want to do this, but I don't have a job or anything and he is telling us how he needs to get cash and I don't carry cash on me ever," said Joel.

So the suspects split the couple up with the gunman riding with Joel to an ATM and Katelin in the car behind them with the other two. Joel and Katelin were trying to remember every detail about their captors and alerting others to the crime.

"She was able to send a text to her mom prior to the incident and then she quickly erased it so they couldn't see that she sent it," said Joel. "The whole time they're threatening to shoot me and to shoot her and they're talking about taking us to Hummel Park and blowing us away and leaving us there."

Police say the victims were forced to go to a bank near 132nd and Maple where they were ordered to withdraw money from an ATM. The suspects were last seen driving away with an undetermined amount of cash.

About an hour-and-a-half later, officers spotted a car that matched the description of the suspect vehicle near 30th and Ames. A traffic stop was conducted and three were taken into custody. Much of the credit for their capture goes to the Katelin and Joel, who managed to give police a description of the suspects and the car they were driving. "I didn't see them until it was too late,” said Joel.

Eighteen-year-old Deanthony Smith was booked for robbery, kidnapping, making terroristic threats, possession of a gun by a prohibited person, use of a gun to commit a felony, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a stolen firearm.

Twenty-one-year-old Jerrod Norals was arrested for robbery, kidnapping, and making terroristic threats.

A 16-year-old boy was booked into the Douglas County Youth Center for robbery, making terroristic threats, kidnapping and possession of a stolen firearm. His name was not released because he's a juvenile.

Joel told Channel 6 News it will take some time to overcome the ordeal, but he has no doubt both he and Katelin will be fine.

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