Courts & Crime

Wrong guy in the trunk, kidnappers' mistakes multiply

This much is police blotter history:

A budding band of armed Missouri kidnappers drove to New Jersey, grabbed the wrong guy, hauled him back across five state lines and ended up with car trouble a hundred miles short of their destination. When their captive took advantage and tried to make a break for it, they beat him down, all in front of a convenience-store clerk.

Note to the Coen brothers: We've got the script to your next movie right here.

The cast includes the self-proclaimed son of an infamous godfather of the Hells Angels, three bad-biker wannabes, a fellow burned in a construction deal out West and the straight man — an unassuming owner of a pet food store in Newton, N.J.

The whole cross-country caper is pretty funny, although before it ends, grim scenes unfold, including one in a Missouri kitchen where a man’s fingers are blown off, terrorizing his wife, and the moment outside the store where the wrong Jeffrey Muller gets Tasered, beaten and thrown in a car.

Then there's this take: The three thugs try to convince the Ozark, Mo., clerk that the man screaming for help inside her store is crazy and they're just trying to take him to a mental treatment facility in Nevada, Mo.

She doesn't buy their act, 9-1-1 is punched into the phone, fade to flashing police lights.

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