North Carolina kidnappers snatched wrong person, indictment says


Well, no one is going to accuse them of being smart.

A team of kidnappers -- hired by a prison inmate to capture the prosecutor who put him away -- went to the wrong house and abducted the prosecutor’s father, according to a federal indictment filed Tuesday in North Carolina.

Nine people have been charged in the alleged plot, which originally targeted Wake County Assistant Dist. Atty. Colleen Janssen, officials said. The plan went awry when an Internet search gave the kidnappers the address for her father, Frank Arthur Janssen, 63, of Wake Forest.

The indictment didn’t detail how the kidnappers reacted when they arrived at the wrong person’s doorstep, but it was hell for Janssen: His ordeal lasted five days and included Taserings, pistol-whippings and texts to Janssen’s wife threatening to send him “back to you in 6 boxes,” according to court records.


Janssen was rescued from a suburban Atlanta apartment complex by a FBI SWAT team April 9.

And not a moment too soon, according to the indictment: Shortly before the FBI raid, Janssen’s captors were planning to kill and bury him. Three of the kidnappers were arrested with two shovels, a pick and a gun, the FBI said.

“We got car, spot, and shovel,” read one text message the kidnappers sent to the plot’s mastermind right before their arrest, according to the indictment.

Officials have identified the mastermind as Kelvin Melton, a Bloods gang member who is serving a life term in the Polk Correctional Center in Butner, N.C., for his involvement with a 2011 shooting. Colleen Janssen was the prosecutor who put him away.

Melton, who has been deemed a violent habitual felon, orchestrated the Janssen kidnapping from behind prison walls with a contraband cellphone, offering to pay each kidnapper $10,000 plus expenses for carrying out the plot, officials said. He is among those indicted.

Frank Arthur Janssen’s kidnapping had been preceded by a March attempt to abduct a person in Louisiana with ties to Melton’s court-appointed defense attorney, which was called off at the last moment for unspecified reasons, according to the indictment.