FBI: NYPD Officer Gilberto Valle charged in cannibal plot to kidnap, cook women
An NYPD officer faces federal kidnapping conspiracy charges in a plot to abduct, cook and "eat body parts" of at least two women, court records show.
The officer, identified in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court as Gilberto Valle, 28, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his home in Forest Hills after emails and text messages show he plotted to "kidnap" one woman "right out of her home."
Court papers show he told a co-conspirator on July 9 that his oven is "big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs."
"I love that she is asleep right now not having the slightest clue of what we have planned," the papers say he wrote. "Her days are numbered. I'm glad you're on board. She does look tasty doesn't she?"
Valle, who police officials said worked as a patrol officer in the 26th Precinct in Harlem, was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and faces life in prison if convicted. He also was charged with intentionally and knowingly accessing a computer without authorization. Two suspected co-conspirators have not been named as defendants and live outside the United States.
Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said Valle was suspended without pay upon his arrest. He said Valle was a six-year veteran of the force. Late Thursday, Valle was ordered by a federal magistrate to be detained pending trial.
"Gilberto Valle's alleged plans to kidnap women so that they could be raped, tortured, killed, cooked, and cannibalized shock the conscience," said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan.
The bizarre case, dubbed that of the "cannibal cop," started when Valle's estranged wife found pornography and strange files in his computer and contacted the FBI when the couple separated, said a senior law enforcement official who didn't want to be named.
FBI agents and police internal affairs investigators several months ago seized Valle's personal computer and delved into its contents, the official said. Valle appeared to be a member of a "strange fetish chat room," the official said.
News of the charges stunned Valle's friends, one of whom said he played baseball at Archbishop Molloy High School with Valle when they won the city league championship in 2002.
"Me and some of the guys on the team met at the coach's office three months ago and he brought his girlfriend or wife and his baby girl. I remember it because he was the only one who brought a significant other," said one former teammate who didn't want to be named.
According to the complaint, Valle created files "pertaining to at least 100 women" -- and each contained "at least one photograph of each woman."
The FBI identified and interviewed 10 of the women, according to the complaint, and each "confirmed to the FBI that Valle is known to her."
Many of the 100 photographs appear to relate to women Valle didn't know personally, the official explained, adding that Valle was communicating with people outside the country.
As astonishing as the allegations are, another law enforcement official said that they had to be taken seriously because Valle had committed a number of acts that the court papers say would have needed to be completed to continue with the conspiracy.
The complaint claims that in February Valle offered to kidnap one victim and supply her to another unnamed co-conspirator for a fee of $5,000.
"It is going to be so hard to constrain myself when I knock her out, but I am aspiring to be a professional kidnapper and that's business," Valle wrote in a Feb. 28 online communication, according to the complaint.
With Ivan Pereira
and Robert Kessler