Oregon ringleader calls kidnap plot 'desperate'

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2011 6:36 PM
Oregon ringleader calls kidnap plot 'desperate'

The ringleader of a failed kidnapping plot against the chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear Company asked for her forgiveness on Thursday as he was sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison.

Nestor Gabriel Caballero Gutierrez called the plot a bad decision by "three desperate idiots" and said he wanted Gert Boyle to know that he and two co-defendants weren't a band of criminals.

Boyle, known for her "One Tough Mother" role in Columbia Sportswear commercials and for her book of the same name, was approached at her suburban Portland home in November by a man offering a gift basket who pulled a gun.

Boyle was able to trigger a silent alarm, bringing police. The man escaped, but police say Cabellero was arrested hours later while carrying some of Boyle's jewelry.

The 87-year-old Boyle didn't appear at Thursday's sentencing but released a statement through her attorney, saying the three defendants "caused me to suffer indignity, violence and indescribable fear." She added that her life was forever changed by the incident.

Presiding Judge Robert Herndon told Caballero that the plot was "a completely lame-brained scheme." He described Boyle as an Oregon and American icon.

"It couldn't have been worse if you tried to kidnap Santa Claus," Herndon said.

Boyle burnished her hard-nosed reputation after her husband died of a heart attack and she took over Columbia, based in Oregon, in 1970. In the 1980s, a national ad campaign showed her putting her son and the products through extreme tests and her flexing her biceps tattooed with the words "Born to Nag."

It remains unclear why the three defendants targeted Boyle and what would have happened to her had they succeeded, prosecutor Rusty Amos said. Investigators know that Caballero Gutierrez was going to take her back to his house.

Police said last year that Boyle was roughed up when her hands were tied, but she wasn't seriously injured.

Caballero Gutierrez, 40, pleaded guilty to burglary, robbery, kidnapping and assault. His co-defendants, Jose Luis Arevalo and Ramon Alberto Midence, also pleaded guilty to similar charges.

According to the terms of a plea agreement, the 47-year-old Arevalo will serve almost six years in prison, and the 42-year-old Midence will serve 9 1/2 years. The plea bargains also eliminated the need for Boyle to testify in court.

She said in her statement Thursday that she was looking forward to refocusing on her role as Columbia chairwoman and as a mother and grandmother.