The driver of a green BMW was walking back to the car with his three passengers after a traffic stop last week in Florida when he put his hand behind his back and used his fingers to make a gun gesture. He was trying to get the attention of the sheriff’s deputies who had pulled him over for speeding, he later told the officers. He was in danger.
A deputy noticed the sign and called the man over. The speeding was on purpose, the driver told the officer – the passengers had been holding him hostage, and this had been his first chance to get help.
“Deputies searched the vehicle and found guns, knives and large amounts of cash,” the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Arrest reports say the three passengers had robbed the victim, who is a dog breeder, and were forcing him at gunpoint to drive to get the puppies in Fort Lauderdale.
The men – Tsdekiel Sellers, 22; Benyahveen Radcliffe, 25; and Kashaveeyah Bragdon, 22 – were arrested and face several charges, including kidnapping, aggravated assault and unlicensed carry of a firearm, according to court records. They are being held in Martin County Jail and do not yet have attorneys, according to court records.
Radcliffe and Sellers first interacted with the victim at his Port St. Lucie home on June 14, according to a report from the Port St. Lucie Police Department, which assisted with the investigation. After Bragdon dropped them off, the pair tried to break into the victim’s house, but the victim “developed a ruse” to get them out, he told officers. He did not contact law enforcement after the incident.
The trio allegedly returned the following day around 2:30 p.m. The victim told police that he heard a “loud banging noise” and then saw the handle to his back door on the floor. Sellers, who is from Atlanta, and Radcliffe, who is from Buffalo, had allegedly broken in and were armed. They “began ransacking the residence,” an arrest report says, stuffing items into several duffel bags, including $10,000 cash, and questioned the victim about the dogs he was breeding.
After telling them the dogs were at his aunt’s house in Fort Lauderdale, Sellers and Radcliffe forced the victim at gunpoint into his car and instructed him to drive, the report says. Bragdon, who is from Tallahassee and allegedly drove the two other suspects to the victim’s house, told police he followed them in his car.
After a few stops, all three suspects got into the victim’s car and allegedly instructed him to drive to Fort Lauderdale so they could collect the puppies. It was then that the dog breeder came up with his plan, the report says.
Knowing that officers often patrol a particular overpass on Interstate 95 in Martin County, the victim decided he would drive 15 miles over the speed limit to catch their attention, he told officers. A sheriff’s deputy pulled them over around 8:40 p.m. and told the men to exit the BMW as another deputy circled the car with a K-9. The officers then gave the victim a written warning and said that he and his passengers were free to go, the report says.
Then the victim flashed the hand signal, the deputy said.
“He stated that the occupants of the car have been keeping him against his will for several days and [he] has not been able to call 911,” the report says, adding that the victim told them “there were multiple firearms concealed in the car and that he was afraid the three other males would use them against him.”
The deputies searched the BMW and found guns in the back seat arm rest and the glove box and a steak knife in the pocket of Radcliffe’s hoodie, according to an arrest report. When questioned by deputies, Radcliffe allegedly said the men knew each other because they were part of a group called the Israelites and said they went to Florida to meet women.
Bragdon told police that he “never possessed a firearm during the incident,” a report says. Law enforcement noted that the suspect “was very cooperative during the investigation and wrote an apology statement to the victim and allowed the [sheriff’s] office to download the data to his cellular device on his own free will.”
Records do not say when Bragdon, Radcliffe and Sellers are due back in court. Sellers’s bond was set at $2.55 million, Radcliffe’s at $2.2 million and Bragdon’s at $700,000, a sheriff’s deputy at the county jail told The Washington Post.