A harrowing kidnapping ordeal turned into a bizarre shopping bonanza, according to reports of a doctor allegedly held hostage after a Brooklyn music event.
Ophthalmologist Michael Bautista claims an armed man identifying himself as “Tony G’s” forced him on a twisted odyssey through the Bronx that ran up over $6,000 in purchases.
Police sources say 42-year-old suspect Anthony Benjamin threatened Bautista with violence if he resisted joining the day-long spending frenzy. Stops included pizza, smoothies, a strip club, barbershop visits and trips to Foot Locker that rang up four-figure bills. Throughout it all, Benjamin allegedly flashed what Bautista believed was a concealed weapon, keeping him in a state of terrified compliance.
As the expenditures mounted, so did Benjamin’s aggressive behavior. He ominously warned the doctor about putting people “in body bags” and not being afraid to “let bullets fly,” according to reports. Fearing for his safety, Bautista played along until reaching his hospital, where security helped end the harrowing ordeal.
It remains unclear what motivated the brazen abduction and financial coercion. However, the saga underscores safety concerns around the Brooklyn Mirage venue, from which two other men recently vanished before dying. For the traumatized doctor, it was a shopping trip from hell that thankfully came to a peaceful conclusion — though the trauma undoubtedly lingers. An investigation is ongoing seeking justice in this disturbing case.