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Gang Member Admits Kidnapping Man at Gunpoint, Police Say

An errant bullet and the victim's drivers license links suspect to kidnapping and robbery earlier this month, Bethlehem Police say.

An 18-year-old “admitted member” of the Bloods gang -- telling police about “his need for money” -- has confessed to kidnapping a man at gunpoint earlier this month, threatening to kill him and forcing him to withdraw money from an ATM just blocks from the teen’s home, authorites said.

Police got a break in the case Thursday when they linked the suspect, Cameron Christian Blake of Bethlehem, to a shot fired from a .357 Magnum that went through the floor of Blake’s apartment and into the apartment below, where a woman and her 6-month-old baby live. No one was hit.

Inside Blake’s apartment, police found a loaded .357 Magnum, “various firearms,” several types of ammunition, and the New Jersey driver’s license of the man named in court records as Blake’s kidnapping victim.

The court records describe how Blake, during the early morning hours of Sept. 9, kidnapped the man at gunpoint in downtown Bethlehem, forced the man into his own car and, still holding the gun on him, made him drive to an ATM not far from Blake’s home.

The suspect lives on the 1300 block of W. Lehigh Street in the West End Village apartments.

Blake, described as having an active juvenile arrest record involving such crimes as assault, recklessly endangering another person and receiving stolen property, was committed to Northampton County Prison early Friday after failing to post $250,000 bail.

A criminal complaint filed by Bethlehem Det. Bradford E. Jones, tells the following story:

--Police were dispatched to the West End Village apartments around 4:10 p.m. Thursday about a bullet that penetrated the ceiling of an apartment bedroom. The female resident said that between noon and 1 p.m. she heard a “loud bang” but thought the upstairs neighbor dropped something.

--Around 4pm she discovered a hole in the ceiling and wall of her spare bedroom. She called a maintenance employee, who found a bullet – “a full metal jacket projectile” – on the floor of the spare bedroom.

-- Det. Jones arrived and was told by other officers the bullet came from the apartment directly above. No one answered the door, but police were able to enter with a key provided by the maintenance employee. A strong odor of pot filled the bedroom from which the bullet was fired.

--Jones got the names of the apartment’s tenants from West End Village officials. Blake’s name is listed on the lease along with his mother’s name.

--Not long after, the mother got home from work. She said her son does not pay rent or any of the apartment’s bills. She allowed police to search the unit.

--They found a bullet hole, which matched the hole in the ceiling of the apartment below, in the floor of Blake’s room. In addition to the gun, ammunition and other firearms, police seized the New Jersey driver’s license as well as pastic bags and other marijuana paraphernalia.

--Police checked the name on the driver’s license in the department’s computer system and found he was the victim of the Sept. 9 gunpoint kidnapping in the area of W. Market Street and Heckewelder Place, just east of Main Street.

--The man had told police the gunman, later identified as Blake, took the man’s wallet containing $50 and his driver’s license and forced him to drive – all the while aiming “the large revolver” at him – to an ATM at the 7-Eleven at 14th Avenue and W. Broad Street. The man withdrew $200 and gave it to Blake.

--Blake told the man he would kill him if he called police and kept the driver’s license “to ensure compliance,” the complaint says. Blake forced him to drive to a “dark alley,” its location not specified, where he fled from the car.

--Around 10:15 Thursday night, the man viewed a photo lineup and “immediately” identified Blake as his kidnapper.

--Blake turned himself in at police headquarters about 35 minutes later. He confessed to “discharging” the gun earlier in the day. “He cited his need for money as his motivation for committing the robbery and kidnapping,” Jones wrote in the complaint.

Blake is facing 12 different charges: robbery, simple assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property, possessing instruments of crime, firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of a firearm by a minor (even though the records list him as being 18) and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

He was arraigned at 1:15 a.m. Friday by on-duty District Judge Diane Marakovits of Northampton.

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