Tan Co. Owner and Three Other Plead Guilty to Federal Kidnapping Charges
St. Louis, MO – Todd Beckman, owner of Tan Co., pled guilty on Thursday to federal kidnapping charges on a Maplewood man. Beckman appeared before United States District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig, who set sentencing for Friday, February 9, 2018 at 10:00AM.
According to court documents, on November 21, 2016, brothers Blake and Caleb Laubinger entered the victim’s residence and, when he arrived home, attacked and confined him with zip ties, threatening to kill him if he screamed. They transported the victim in a rental truck to Blake Laubinger’s residence, and held him in the basement in zip ties, handcuffs and duct tape. Todd Beckman and Kerry Roades arrived at the residence. Beckman and Roades beat the victim and pressed the barrel of a handgun to his head. They accused him stealing from Blake Laubinger and demanded money. The next day, the Laubinger brothers told the victim if they did not get ransom money from his parents in Florida they would kill him. The victim was repeatedly beaten, tased, and assaulted by the kidnappers. The kidnappers made ransom calls to the victim’s parents demanding money in exchange for his life. On the night of November 21, Zachary Smith arrived at the residence and observed the victim secured in the basement but failed to notify the authorities.
On November 22, Blake and Caleb Laubinger, and Todd Beckman, transported the victim in the rental truck to Todd Beckman’s property and confined him in a shipping container. Beckman put a handgun to the victim’s head and threatened to kill him.
On November 23, the victim’s parents paid approximately $27,000 in ransom to Todd Beckman. Shortly after, the kidnappers removed the victim from the shipping container and threatened to kill him if he said anything to anyone. The kidnappers took the victim in a “St. Louis Tan Co.” van to Gravois Bluffs shopping center, where they released him.
“The crime was brutal and protracted. For almost three days, the victim was secured to a pole in a basement, physically assaulted and told of a plan to wrap him in plastic wrap, shoot him and deliver his body to California. In the end, the kidnappers released the victim in exchange for $27,000 ransom money supplied by his parents,” said John T Davis, Assistant United States Attorney.
Todd Beckman, 53 of Fenton, pled guilty on November 2; Co-defendants Caleb Laubinger, 27, of Pacific, pled guilty on November 1; Blake Laubinger, 25, of Pacific, pled guilty today; and Kerry Roades, 56, of Fenton, pled guilty today – each to one felony count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping; Zachary Smith, 25, of Eureka, pled guilty in May to misprision of a felony (helping conceal a crime) and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 20.
Conspiracy to commit kidnapping carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In addition, each of the defendants agreed to forfeit multiple pieces of real property, several vehicles, and numerous firearms all connected with this offense.
This case was investigated the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maplewood Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney John T Davis is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.