Attention Coen Brothers: Grist for a movie

By Joe Lambe

Robert C. Caldwell kidnapped a 67-year-old Kansas City man, beat him, stuck a gun in his mouth and worse.

The victim fought back during the seven-hour ordeal and finally escaped.

A federal judge in Kansas City on Thursday sentenced Caldwell to 45 years.

A media release from federal prosecutors paints Caldwell, 26, of Danville, Ky., as a vicious, twisted and incompetent career criminal.

It was, fortunately, a relatively short career.

From the release:

In January 2015, he stole a pistol and truck in Kentucky to drive to Missouri with a juvenile accomplice, intending to rob a drug dealer he learned about from a prison friend.

That fell through and they were stuck without money in Kansas City.

They broke into cars, escaped arrest after a high-speed chase and dumped their stolen truck.

On Jan. 22, 2015, at about 5:30 a.m., they abducted the unlucky victim outside his south Kansas City home.

They took him, his money and his van. They pistol whipped him, drove him to ATMs and demanded he take out money, but he could not remember his PIN number.

They beat him and falsely told him an accomplice at his house had just killed his wife.

They stuck a gun in his mouth and chipped his teeth.

They drove east on I-70, using the victim’s credit cards along the way, and at one point stopped to sleep.

The victim untied his hands, grabbed a 45-pound weight under a car seat and bashed both thieves.

Not enough. The bloodied and angry pair beat him all the more and drove on.

The victim pretended to be unconscious. The van driver put down his gun to drive better and the victim grabbed it.

Caldwell came at him and the victim pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire, the victim chambered a round and the thieves ran from the stopped van. The victim got out of it there in Jennings, Mo.

He later looked up and saw the thieves were in his van again, driving toward him. The victim hid and went to police.

Caldwell and his accomplice crashed the van in Bardstown, Ky., and stole a nearby car.

On Jan. 27, 2015, Caldwell kidnapped a 13-year-old boy in Windsor, Ky. He did that after approaching the child with a gun and demanding keys to a jeep in a driveway. He took the jeep and child, later dropping the boy off at a store.

Police captured Caldwell later after another high-speed chase, in which he forced vehicles off the road and nearly hit several people.

His co-defendant, charged as an adult in Jackson County, is scheduled for trial soon for kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

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