A Medford man allegedly planned with two others to kidnap a Norwood store owner and rob his check-cashing business, but the plot was thwarted after the FBI was tipped off, prosecutors said.
John Salvucci, 65, of Medford, James Chambers, 53, of Stoneham and George Whalen, 55, of Winthrop, were arrested early Wednesday morning on federal arrest warrants charging conspiracy to commit robbery, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
The three defendants allegedly planned to kidnap the owner of Norwood-based Forest Hills Check Cashing then make him help them rob the store, which the suspects believed had a large amount of cash, prosecutors said.
When the suspects approached a fourth man to cooperate with the scheme, he tipped off the FBI and agreed to cooperate with authorities, prosecutors said.
During a series of recorded meetings, Salvucci allegedly outlined the scheme to the cooperating witness, and told him Whalen and Chambers would kidnap the owner from the owner’s home the morning of the intended robbery, prosecutors said.
FBI agents and local police followed the men as they traveled from the Medford area to the check-cashing store in Norwood and watched as they allegedly collected information about the business, and watched Whalen and Chambers go inside, prosecutors said.
“The actions alleged in the complaint involved a dangerous and violent plot to commit a robbery and kidnap a store owner," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in the statement. "Thanks to the diligence and hard work of the investigative team, the plot was thwarted and the defendants now face federal criminal charges.”
If convicted, Salvucci, Whalen and Chambers each face up to 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.