DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The FBI has issued arrest warrants and released disturbing details in the armed home invasion and kidnapping of an elderly Durham couple and the theft of more than $150,000 of their cryptocurrency in April.
The incident took place at gunpoint at the couple’s Wells Street home the morning of April 12 after the thieves posed as construction workers and forced their way into the home, according to the Durham Police Department and FBI officials.
The arrest warrants released Thursday for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping indicate two West Palm Beach, Florida, men are wanted — Jarod Gabriel Seemungal and Remy Ra St. Felix.
CBS 17 has also obtained an FBI criminal complaint filed the same day in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina which said suspects began as early as February targeting retirees who had cryptocurrency and that the accused men even had the license plate number for the husband’s car. A third man is also named in the criminal complaint, but no arrest warrant was issued for him Thursday.
The FBI complaint also reveals the brutality of the kidnapping — with the elderly couple handcuffed with zip-ties, the wife dragged on the floor by her feet and threats made “to cut off (the) husband’s toes and genitalia, to shoot him, and to rape his wife.” The husband was hit in the head during the kidnapping.
Messages sent between those involved identified actual cryptocurrency amounts and their locations, the criminal complaint said. One suspect had a photo of the husband’s North Carolina driver’s license in his email account, the FBI said.
The two suspects also discussed in internet messages how potential victims “have so much” money in accounts that it would be “retirement licks” — the FBI explaining in the complaint that “licks” is slang for a robbery, the complaint said.
The thieves apparently rented a car in Florida and visited the Millennium Hotel in Durham a couple of days before the actual robbery, according to the complaint. Video from a home near the victims’ showed the thieves’ BMW SUV “conducting surveillance” at the couple’s home each of the three days before the kidnapping, the FBI said.
One part of the FBI’s complaint said a person driving a gray 2019 BMW X5 — extremely similar to the SUV the suspects used — visited a Durham Walmart on April 11 to purchase the costumes that allowed thieves to get into the home of the elderly victims.
Walmart records from the Glen School Road store revealed a debit card of one man linked to the robbery showed the purchase of a clipboard, reflective vest, sunglasses and a pair of khaki pants, the FBI said. Video also showed two of the men involved inside the Walmart, the FBI said.