Three Missouri men have been charged with kidnapping
a New Jersey man and driving him half-way across the country. The victim, Jeffrey Muller
, was freed Saturday in Lake Ozark, Missouri, when a convenience store worker saw him try to escape from a vehicle and called police.
Law authorities say that the kidnappers were headed to the southwest Missouri town of Nevada, where the local sheriff describes the abductors as "bumbling idiots."
Charged with kidnapping, felonious restraint and assault/armed criminal action are Douglas Stangeland
, 46, of Nevada; Andrew David Wadel
, 21, and Lonnie Eugene Swarnes
, 44, both of Rich Hill, Missouri. The men are being held in jail in the mid-Missouri town of Tuscumbia.
Bumbling Idiots: (L to R) Douglas Stangeland, Andrew David Wadel and Lonnie Eugene Swarnes
According to reports, the men used a stun gun on Friday to
disable Muller, 59, in the parking lot of the pet-food store he owns in
Newton, New Jersey. The suspects then drove more than 1,000 miles to central
Missouri before experiencing car trouble. View Larger Map
Muller was treated
for bruises and minor injuries at a local hospital before flying home under the guard of New Jersey State Police. The investigation is
ongoing, though authorities believe the suspects likely kidnapped
the wrong man.