May 23, 2013 By Christian Murray
The horror movie played out in a Sunnyside warehouse.
In April, a Woodside resident was walking down Roosevelt Avenue and was picked up off the street by three men and held in a de facto torture chamber in Sunnyside for over a month, according to the Queens District Attorney.
Pedro Portugal, 52, was forced into a sports utility vehicle and was then carted off to a warehouse located at 38-09 43rd Avenue, where the men were holding him for a $3 million ransom.
Portugal was held into a small room at the Sunnyside warehouse from April 18, 2013, until May 20, 2013, during which time a group of masked males burned his hand with acid, threatened to cut off his fingers and kill him. They punched him in the face and body, causing him to lose teeth and suffer multiple bruises, swelling and substantial pain to his face and body, according to the District Attorney.
One of the men allegedly then ordered Portugal to call his mother in Ecuador and request $3 million in ransom from her, which would be delivered to a person named “Tito.”
“This is a terrifying story of a businessman allegedly being forcibly abducted off the streets of Queens County in broad daylight and being beaten and held against his will,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
Pedro Portugal, 52, was initially approached on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights by Eduardo Moncayo, who called out Portugal’s name and displayed what appeared to be a New York City Police Department badge.
It is alleged that Moncayo and an unapprehended man grabbed Portugal by his shoulders and forced him into the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, Moncayo and two unapprehended men punched Portugal in the face and body and placed a mask over his face to obstruct his vision.
As Portugal entered the vehicle, one of the men lifted Portugal’s shirt, held a knife to his stomach and ordered him not to move or else he would be stabbed. When the vehicle then allegedly proceeded to drive off, Portugal’s leg was allegedly hanging outside the vehicle.
The district attorney has brought charges against Moncayo, 38, of 700 New York Avenue, Lyndhurst, New Jersey; as well as two other men. They are Christian Acuna, 35, of 108-27 38th Avenue in Corona; and Dennis Alves, 32, of 24-16 84th Street in East Elmhurst.
The police discovered Portugal on May 20, 2013, when a detective entered the Sunnyside warehouse and observed Portugal with his hands bound with cloth.
The police observed Christian Acuna fleeing the warehouse and apprehended him on the corner of Skillman Avenue and 39th Street.
Acuna and defendant Dennis Alves kept watch of Portugal at the warehouse during the day while the Moncayo watched him during the night.
In statements made to police, Acuna said Alves hired him to watch Portugal at the warehouse for $800 per week.
Alves allegedly told police, “I didn’t treat him bad. I told him it was just business.”
The three defendants are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on criminal complaints charging them with first- and second-degree kidnapping and first-degree unlawful imprisonment. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 25 years to life in prison.
This is crazy. Sometimes when I try and take a walk after work to run errands around 48th street and 48th avenue, there’s a group of guys that follow me around with indecent proposals and A few times I had to call my bf to meet with me outside the deli. I don’t dress sexy or anything, I’m always dressed conservative and I try not to look at anyone in the eye. But I still feel disrespected and scared to walk in my own neighborhood.
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Apartheid? Let’s change OM’s name to “Capt. Propaganda”.
SUDS, and its Dog Run, have/will be filled with people from ALL walks of life. Unlike your Cave, which only seems to have room for you, as who would want to occupy the same space w/ an ogre like you?
We will indeed be sending you an invite, but as I doubt you could ever achieve ‘plus 1’, it’ll be just a single ticket. Put on your sunglasses, it’ll be open in June, lots of sunlight, I know you don’t get much in your cave.
These artificial boundaries of LIC,Sunnyside, and Woodside are merely creations of the Post Office. Celtic Park, in the middle of Sunnyside, has its zip code designated as 11377, Woodside. We are 48th – 50th Avenue, and 44th to 42nd Street. If I get a package, I have to go to the 61st street PO to pick it up, as they do not consider us to be part of Sunnyside.
Native, what joke? I’m trying to promote community interest in this heinous crime that occurred right in our midst and you attack me! Oh wait, I Did mention the dog park and that is a joke, using our money to create an apartheid village in the middle of Lodati Park. Have you stopped to think that if Lodati wasn’t closed to build the dog oasis, the young men involved with this crime likely would have been spending their day recreating in Lodati playing soccer or equaball, expending time and energy in healthy activities and not involved with kidnapping?
Was he gay activist friend of JVB? No? Just a Hispanic guy?
Moving on then.
Women are lured into sex slavey all over the world and many are held in Jackson Heights. I wouldn’t doubt they are are in Woodside, Sunnyside and LIC, (remember the charges against the owner of that hell hole, Gallagher’s) but that doesn’t make headlines anywhere.
Why isn’t that very big news with public outcries against kidnapping, torture, slavery, discrimination and hate crimes against women?
Because we are hypocrites, that’s why.
Leave it to the ever inconsiderate & insensitive Oppressed Masses to insert a joke in here, in light of he hellish ordeal that this poor man was forced to endure. Sad Oppressed Masses. Go play with your pet pigeon. We saw you at the park on Monday. At least you care about birds, in particular your pet pigeon, so we know you have a heart.
how in the world did these people get a hold of a police badge? Now how can I trust a plain clothes police officer? I wouldnt thats how.
I can’t believe that this happened! What surprises me is that no one spoke up. If someone would have spoke up, then this would be done quick rather than long. God gave us mouths so we can speak. There’s no shame of speaking up for someone who might need help or assistance.
P.S.: Sunnyside is its own neighborhood and not part of Long Island City, with 39th Street to the west, 50th Street to the east, Barnett Avenue to the north, and 51st Avenue to the south. Plus, the warehouse is actually in Long Island City since it’s next to 39th Street.
why is this not bigger news?
From today’s Daily News:
Regular food deliveries to a Queens warehouse tipped off cops that a band of kidnappers was holding an accountant hostage there, police said.
I wonder where they were ordering from? The first correct answer will get a pair of tickets on me to the opening day ceremonies for the Van Bramer Dog Oasis.
After the kidnapping in Cleveland, why wasn’t this bigger news?? This is 4 blocks from my front door! Crazy!!
The great 108 pct takes months again to find so
what is the likelihood of the mother of a guy named pedro portugal, living in Ecuador, having 3 mil?? who’s buying this crap!!?? seriously….
Were there no trust fund hipsters walking the streets the could pick up, their parents are only in Westchester, cheaper call and they got cash.
I don’t believe it.
I bet there are a ton of facts not known as to why this happened. What was he involved in? What kind of business? This reeks of some shady shit!
Wow! I walk past here twice a day going to and from work. It is scary to think what goes on in those buildings. The area along there is always busy in the mornings and afternoons so how come nobody saw anything?
I wonder if “Stuck in the Middle with You” was playing in the background.
What’s the background to this story?? How the hell did they come up with 3mil? Did they know each other, the thing is there must be something else going on.. Did he win lottery back home or something? The reason I am asking is, should anyone be worried they can be held for hostage or is it a targeted crime with some reason..
WTF is happening in this area, we need more cops doing house calls to these “warehouses” in LIC area.
“Just business?” Lock ’em up, and never let them out. They are dangerous.
I hate Chickens
I didn’t know that. Huh.
Everyone is a businessman. What did the kidnapped do for business? What made him stick out to warrant a 3million ranson?
The nypd detective noticed it because this is one of their methods….
The NY Times has the conclusion of the release of the kidnapped individual as follows:
Mr. Portugal’s 32-day ordeal ended Monday when police officers posing as building inspectors raided the warehouse, freeing Mr. Portugal, a 52-year-old Queens businessman, the authorities said in a detailed statement released on Wednesday.
Technically Sunnyside is a town within Long Island City. All neighborhoods which start with the zip code 111 are all part of Long Island City as per USPS
So happy to hear this horrfic ordeal went on 3 blocks away from my home. Scary mary.
DC – Sunnyside’s local group is called “The United 40’s”. Generally people consider 40th-50th street being Sunnyside with Northern Boulevard at North and the 51st Ave/LIE to the south. My address is Woodside (near Celtic Park) but I don’t consider myself to be in Woodside at all.
The “Industrial” area to the west is def Long Island City – which would include 33rd/Rawson stop.
DC. Who cared. Geez. Anyway horrible story.
Thomster – horrible crimes, crazy stuff. Is it better than the Italians, Irish, Chinese, Arab. Crime is crime, evil has no face. Just be glad it’s not you. Our community should pool in and heal and protect itself.
If a passerby noticed this there is something fishy. I walk by there sometimes and the building is used to store food cards overnight. There’s a lot of traffic in and out. There should be some serious questioning going on. Multiple people had to have seen something but for whatever reason kept their mouths shut.
I pass in front of this building 5 days a week. I often catch myself wondering what really goes on inside this place as well as all the others in the avenue and surroundings. It is shocking and scary.
“I didn’t treat him bad. I told him it was just business.”
Where does Sunnyside officially end and Long Island City begin? For the area north of Queens Blvd I personally believe that west of 39th Street should be considered Long Island City or at least “LIC East.” It is an industrial quarter that is not characteristic of Sunnyside. South of Queens Blvd is another story as residential home extend as far west as 37th Street. I know this is a minor point but the report from ABC News labels this happening in Long Island City and our Sunnyside Post labels it as Sunnyside. It occurred at a building resting on the corner of 38th Street and 43rd Avenue. As well, Sunnyside is routinely labeled as part of greater Long Island City. Regardless, it is horrific that something like this occurred a mere 4 blocks away from my apartment. I was just wondering if anyone else had a thought on the neighborhood’s western border? For instance if you are getting off the subway at 33rd Street – Rawson are you in Long Island City, Sunnyside or both? Thank you
this is good reporting
The inexcusably racist comments aside (@Thomster) this is absolutely terrible news. That poor man!
Omg, terrifying. I’m happy to hear he was found safe though. Thank goodness for small miracles.
And this: “In statements made to police, Acuna said Alves hired him to watch Portugal at the warehouse for $800 per week.”
$800/week? TO KEEP SOMEONE PRISONER? WTF???
Didn’t anyone in the warehouse notice this guy walking/standing around with his hands tied up? If a police detective walking by could see this, why didn’t anyone else over the month’s time notice?
Look at the people involved, is anyone suprised? Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, what’s the difference. This is how these people operate.
This is when you need the death penalty in NY. For scum like this.
uuuhhh… wtf is this?! Mexico?