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Russell Brothers Steals Airplane, Holds it for Ransom Over $12,000 Debt

By Pete Kotz in robbery
Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm
In the 1990s, Nashville pilot Russell Brothers was convicted of money laundering and drug smuggling. He did his time and seemed to have turned his life around, most recently working as a pilot flying relief supplies into Haiti for Catholic Charities...

But his problems -- and his old ways -- reemerged a few months ago when he loaned his business partner, Kenneth Baldwin Jr., $12,000 to close on a condo. In the meantime, the 73-year-old Brothers lost his home and cars in a flood. He'd also lost a deal he'd set up with Baldwin to buy a private airstrip after it too was trashed by the flood.

So Brothers badly needed the $12,000 repaid. But for some reason, Baldwin wasn't forking it over. That's when Brothers got a bright idea: He would steal Baldwin's $300,000 plane, then hold it for ransom until the 12 large was repaid.

Baldwin reported the plane missing two days later. Surveillance cameras caught Brothers swiping it from a Nashville airport. Brothers promised to tell Baldwin where he'd parked the plane -- but only after he repaid the $12,000 condo loan.

They set up a meet at a suburban Nashville restaurant. But instead of showing up with the money, Baldwin showed up with the cops. He's now charged with felony theft -- and he still doesn't have his 12 grand.

See our last tale of bad ransom plots: Man Holds Missing Dog for Ransom, But He's Outsmarted by Police.

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