About that kidnapping in Paxton, IL

Paxton is a small town north of Champaign on I57. The kidnappers lived in chicago. How did they know this guy?

Perhaps the mastermind lived in the city?

Joel Hastings of rural Paxton, who works as general manager at NexStep Commercial Products in Paxton — said he was leaving work about 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 when, upon arriving at his car in the business’ parking lot, he opened a door to put his briefcase in the back seat and saw a man wearing a mask or “clothing over his face” in the back seat pointing a gun at him.

Hastings said he was retreating when a second man struck him from behind with a baseball bat, Johnson said. Hastings was then forced into the back seat of his car.

The man with the bat got in the driver’s seat, while the man with the gun remained in the back seat, Hastings told Johnson. They then used “zip-ties” to restrain Hastings. They then drove out of the parking lot and around rural areas in Ford and Iroquois counties, forcing Hastings to keep his head down so he could not see outside, Johnson said.

While driving around, they beat Hastings with the pistol and bat and “dry-fired” the gun twice while it was pointed at his head, Hastings told Johnson.

The kidnappers agreed to let Hastings leave if he provided $800 in cash to them the following day by dropping it in a garbage can at the park in Loda. They had already allegedly robbed him of $300, several credit cards, a cell phone, two checks totaling $8,000, a GPS unit and external computer hard drive.

Johnson said Cerritos was arrested first, after he was seen retrieving $50,000 in cash that the FBI had placed in a garbage can at the park in Loda on Jan. 15. Johnson said the kidnappers told Hastings to leave the money at the park earlier that day.

A GPS tracking device that was with the money showed Cerritos left the park and went to a trailer in Loda, where he left the money. Cerritos then drove to Paxton, where he was arrested by Paxton police, FBI agents and state police during a traffic stop.

Johnson said Cerritos admitted using a baseball bat and pistol to beat Hastings and rob him. He also implicated Marcos and Samano in the crime.

Johnson said police learned that Marcos was headed from Chicago to the trailer in Loda where the money was left. Marcos was arrested later on Jan. 15 at the trailer. Marcos admitted his involvement and also implicated Cerritos and Samano, Johnson said.

Samano was later arrested in Berwyn. Police were unable to interview Samano because he had already been appointed an attorney prior to his arrival at the Ford County Jail.

Hastings, who had visible bruising and lumps on his head when interviewed by police, was unable to identify the men because they were disguised, Johnson said, but Hastings said he believed both were Hispanic as both were speaking Spanish.

Cerritos and Marcos admitted to police after their arrest that they were in the vehicle with Hastings, Johnson said. Both told police that Samano picked them up from the scene and that he planned and organized the crime.

Johnson said Cerritos was arrested first, after he was seen retrieving $50,000 in cash that the FBI had placed in a garbage can at the park in Loda on Jan. 15. Johnson said the kidnappers told Hastings to leave the money at the park earlier that day.

 A Chicago man, whom police described as the “mastermind” of the kidnapping and armed robbery of a Paxton man in December, was arrested Friday on a $500,000 warrant, bringing the number of suspects jailed in connection with the incident to four.

Manuel Samano-Santoyo, 42, was arrested Friday evening at his residence at 2633 W. 24th Place, Chicago, according to Paxton Police Chief Bob Bane. 

Paxton police had a warrant issued for his arrest through the Ford County state’s attorney’s office about 5:30 p.m. Friday, Bane said. Paxton police then contacted the FBI and the Great Lakes U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Chicago and asked for the two agencies’ assistance in arresting him. He was arrested that evening at his residence and remained Monday at the Ford County Jail on a $500,000 bond, Bane said.

Samano-Santoyo, also known as Manuel Samano, is an illegal immigrant, Bane said. An immigration detainer has been obtained, Bane said.

Bane said Samano-Santoyo is charged with the same offenses as the other three suspects in the case: two counts each of armed robbery, a Class X felony; and kidnapping, a Class 2 felony; and one count of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony.

Bane said Samano-Santoyo is a relative of one of the other suspects, Eduardo Samano, 22, of Berwyn. Also charged are Rodolfo A. Cerritos, 25, of Paxton, and Evigan J. Marcos, 24, of Loda.

No court date has been set yet for Samano-Santoyo. The other three suspects remain jailed on $250,000 bond and are due in court at 10 a.m. March 10.

Bane would not reveal details of Samano-Santoyo’s alleged involvement in the crime.

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