A Baltimore police sergeant kidnapped a home contractor — then threatened to take the man “in the woods” — in a dispute over his botched patio, police said.
James Lloyd, 45, was arrested Thursday on kidnapping and extortion charges after the victim told Baltimore County detectives he was forced to go to a bank and refund the 21-year department veteran for the project, Baltimore County police said.
“During the dispute, the suspect identified himself as a police officer,” police said in a statement. “The victim stated he was in fear of being arrested and complied with Lloyd’s demands.”
The sergeant was unhappy with the patio after some stones had come apart and Lloyd’s significant other wanted it to be much larger, prompting the contractor to ask for another $1,400, according to charging documents obtained by the Baltimore Sun.
“You are going to give me my money back, and I’m going to give you freedom,” Lloyd told the contractor.
Lloyd, who has been suspended without pay, went to the contractor’s home on June 25 and demanded the refund while saying he could arrest the man because his driver’s license was suspended, police said.
Lloyd then made the contractor get into his car and go to a bank to get a certified check for $3,500 – half of the original quote for a patio at the officer’s home, charging documents allege.
The contractor told Lloyd his didn’t want any problems over the dispute, prompting the officer to allegedly respond, “Problem would be if I take you in the woods,” police said.
Three other homicide unit detectives were also involved in the alleged confrontation, including one who is accused of joining Lloyd as he made his demand. Two others then entered the victim’s backyard with their badges and handguns displayed, charging documents allege.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young said in a statement he was “utterly sickened and appalled” by the allegations facing the four cops.
“These three detectives have had their police powers suspended and are assigned to administrative duties, pending an internal investigation,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Thursday. “The department has opened an internal investigation into their potential misconduct.”
Department officials said a preliminary review indicates that Lloyd and three detectives — identified in court docs as Juan Diaz, Manuel Larbi and Troy Taylor — were all on duty at the time, the Baltimore Sun reported.
An attorney for Lloyd, who has been ordered held without bail, downplayed the allegations outside court Friday.
“This was a contractual dispute that involved absolutely no criminality on behalf of my client,” attorney Matthew Fraling told CBS Baltimore.
If convicted, Lloyd reportedly faces up to 30 years in prison.
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