St. Louis-area businessman faces federal kidnapping charge

AP News
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Posted: Dec 05, 2016 3:53 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis-area businessman and three other men face kidnapping charges after authorities say they kept a man at a house over three days and threatened and beat him before releasing him when his parents paid about $27,000 in ransom money, court documents show.

Todd Beckman, president and CEO of BAM Brands, remained in custody Monday along with Blake Laubinger, Caleb Laubinger and Kerry Roades. They were arrested last Thursday and each charged with a count of kidnapping.

A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

A special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Brent Nanney, wrote in charging documents that the four held the man against his will, beat him and shocked him with a stun gun over three days in November at a home in the St. Louis suburb of Pacific, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (http://j.mp/2fWSAta ).

BAM Brands owns the tanning business Tanco, Xist Fitness, Massage Luxe and the age management business LifeXist, according to its website. BAM markets itself as a health and beauty franchise development company.

The court documents say the victim was beaten and choked in his Maplewood home Nov. 21 by the Laubingers, who are brothers, until they secured him with zip ties and took him to the home in Pacific. The man, whose name was not included in court documents, told authorities that Beckman and Roades later arrived at the house. He said he was shocked, kicked and punched repeatedly while being accused of stealing money from Blake Laubinger, according to court documents.

The documents say he was released Nov. 23, after the men collected about $27,000 from his parents.

Beckman's lawyer, Travis Noble, told The Associated Press on Monday that his client will plead not guilty and challenge his detention. He said he couldn't comment further because he had not seen all the evidence yet.

"A crime like this would be very out of character for somebody of Mr. Beckman's status in the community," Noble said.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Blake Laubinger's lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, also said he hadn't seen any evidence and that his client will enter a not guilty plea, while Caleb Laubinger's lawyer Patrick Kilgore did not respond to a message from the newspaper seeking comment.

An attorney listed as representing Roades did not immediately return a call from the AP on Monday.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com