DENVER (AP) — A man who allegedly kidnapped an employee at the Colorado ranch owned by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg at first asked her where the billionaire’s daughters were and later went on rants about Bloomberg, saying he wanted to “make an international scene” with him or his daughters, according to court documents.
The Bloomberg family was not at the ranch near rural Meeker, in the western part of the state, when Joseph Beecher allegedly rammed his pickup through its gates and kidnapped the female worker at gunpoint Wednesday.
Beecher, 48, then forced the woman to drive him in her truck to the Denver area and north to Wyoming, authorities said. Her name was initially released by authorities but redacted in Colorado state court documents released Friday.
Beecher was arrested Thursday with an AR-15 and a handgun in Cheyenne, Wyoming, after investigators were able to trace the woman’s iPad to a motel there, an arrest affidavit said. It said the woman was not harmed but also said Beecher kissed her on the forehead and told her she would be dead if she were a man.
Beecher was being held in jail in Cheyenne. No state charges had been filed against him yet in Wyoming but he was charged with kidnapping in federal court on Thursday. No lawyer was listed as representing him yet.
The sheriff’s office in Rio Blanco County, where the ranch is located, said in a statement that Beecher had no connection to the Bloombergs or the alleged victim. It said his motive for going to the ranch, which was purchased in April 2020 for $44.8 million, was being investigated.
While she was being held, the alleged victim, described in federal court documents as the ranch’s supervising housekeeper, said Beecher told her he had gone to the Meeker airport in July looking for Bloomberg, according to the Colorado affidavit. She also said he referred to Bloomberg’s daughters by name when he asked about their whereabouts.
Bloomberg has two adult daughters, Emma and Georgina.
Beecher lives in Craig, Colorado, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) from the Bloomberg ranch, and had worked as a handyman at an apartment complex, according the affidavit. He received housing in exchange for his work but was told he was being terminated on Tuesday and would have to leave, it said.
On Wednesday, surveillance video showed a pickup truck belonging to Beecher ram its way through the Bloomberg ranch’s security gate.
He then allegedly found the employee working in the ranch’s service house and forced her to leave with him, pushing his damaged truck down an embankment to hide it, the document said.
The woman told investigators that Beecher made many threatening statements to her but she tried to act friendly to calm him down. When she was forced to withdraw money from an ATM, she said she mouthed the words “help me” hoping it would be recorded by the machine’s surveillance camera.
Bloomberg’s spokesperson, Ty Trippet, expressed gratitude to law enforcement for their work.
“We’re deeply grateful to the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Wyoming law enforcement, the F.B.I. and other individuals for their swift and heroic action in this case in ensuring that no lives were lost and that the victim has been rescued and safely returned to her family,” he said in a statement.