ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — After a Virginia man was reported missing, then found hours later on the side of the road, he told police he was kidnapped, drugged and held against his will by members of a motorcycle gang. The FBI says he fabricated that story and several others so he could disappear and start a new life with his mistress.
Larry Wayne Price Jr. was arrested last week and charged with lying to federal authorities. He was being held on a $500,000 bond. Price’s lawyer, Justin Lugar of Roanoke, declined to comment.
Prosecutors said after Price’s wife reported him missing April 14, police in his hometown of Bluefield and the county sheriff’s office launched a massive search that included the use of state police helicopters and dogs.
Price, 38, was located that night by a driver who noticed him on the side of the road on Route 61 near Gratton, Virginia.
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An affidavit written by an FBI agent says that when Price was taken to a hospital, he told police he was kidnapped by two strangers, drugged and held against his will. He said he was taken to a business he owns, Hawg Pit Cycles in West Virginia, where he said his keys were taken and the store’s safe was robbed. He also said the men pointed a gun at him and stole his pocketknife and his 9mm handgun.
But when police reviewed security video from the motorcycle shop, they found no indication the shop had been disturbed, and no sign of a robbery or the white van Price had described, the affidavit said.
When the FBI interviewed Price, he changed his story and said he was kidnapped by members of a motorcycle gang, the affidavit states. He also told authorities he thought he may have been kidnapped because he owed someone money.
When asked to whom he owed money, Price said maybe he should “plead the Fifth” and said he thought it best to say “that he made it all up, he needed to clear his head, and say he disappeared on his own,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit.
Agents discovered he contacted a woman the day he was reported missing. Price said the woman managed a restaurant he owned and denied having an affair with her.
She eventually told authorities she had Price had discussed “wanting to disappear.” She said they decided to move in to a house near her father’s home to start a new life together.
Price’s arrest drew attention in Montana, where he owned the largest house ever built in Billings, the Billings Gazette reported. The house is a 10-bedroom, 26,000-square-foot mansion with three swimming pools. KTVQ reports the house was possessed by the lawyer for a company to whom Price owed millions and was put up for sale earlier this week with an asking price of $17 million.