Man ‘tried to sell’ kidnapped model online
A BRITISH model was put up for auction on the internet with a starting bid of USD$353,000 (A$445,000) after being kidnapped and drugged when she showed up to a sham photoshoot in Milan.
The unidentified 20-year-old woman was allegedly captured by Lukasz Herba, 30, a Polish man posing as a photographer on July 11, local news outlet Corriere Della Sera reported.
A UK-based modelling agency sent the woman to the "photoshoot," and once she arrived, was promptly injected with the powerful anaesthesia Ketamine, handcuffed, and stuffed into a suitcase with a pillow case over her head, according to the report.
Herba, who also may have had an accomplice, allegedly threw the suitcase into the trunk of his car and drove to an events hall he had rented in a Southern Milanese suburb where he held the woman captive, the local paper reported.
She was later moved to a farmhouse near Turin 120 miles away, where she remained for six days and put up for sale on the dark web - an unindexed portion of the world wide web - for USD$353,000 (A$445,000) in Bitcoin, according to the local paper.
"Analysis of his email shows this man belonged to an organisation called 'Black Death'," Milan prosecutor Paolo Storari said in a media conference overnight, The Telegraph Reported.
The kidnappers then started blackmailing her modelling agency, demanding USD$300,000 (A$377,000) in ransom, Italian authorities said.
Her captors seemed to have a change of heart when they found out the model had a two-year-old child, and told police their "rules exclude kidnapping mothers" and decided to try and release her, the local paper reported.
Herba allegedly offered the model's freedom in exchange for about USD$60,000 (A$75,000) and threatened to kill her if she told police. It is unclear if she attempted to gather the money.
The woman's modelling agency then contacted police and Herba reportedly negotiated a ransom for about USD$60,000 ($75,000) with them.
Her captors then dropped off the model July 17 at the British Consulate in Milan.
Herba, who was arraigned Friday in a Milan, will next appear in court in the fall, the Daily Beast reported.
- with the New York Post