NYPD cops chase pot smokers, find kidnapped man beaten, bound in store basement

A man was found beaten and bound in the basement of a Bronx bodega when two cops who were chasing separate suspects entered the cellar early Wednesday morning, police said.

The cops ran into the bodega on Bussing Avenue near Digney Avenue in Wakefield at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday while they were chasing two suspects who had been smoking pot on a nearby street corner, authorities said.

While they were searching for the suspects in the store, an employee let them into the basement, where they discovered the kidnapped 49-year-old, cops said.

Richard Millwood

Richard Millwood (DCPI)

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The officers freed the man, who then told them he had been kidnapped three days prior by four people on a Bronx street corner, police said.

The victim — who sources said has a lengthy arrest record — said the four suspects forced him into a car near East 234 Street and White Plains Road in Wakefield at about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, cops said.

They then drove him to the deli, brought him to the basement, beat him and chained him to a pole, he told police.

Cops arrested the owner of the deli, 49-year-old Orinthia Gifford, and charged her with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment for her role in the caper, authorities said.

Gifford’s 26-year-old daughter, who did not give her name, said Wednesday night she was shocked to hear about her mother’s kidnapping arrest, but knew her mother had been involved with “fugitives.”

“I know she got caught up with something to do with some fugitives. They chased them in here and I guess since she’s the owner, they took her in,” she said.

Police believe the kidnapped man knew all of the suspects who abducted him, authorities said. They were investigating if the kidnapping was connected to a drug-dealing operation, sources said.

Investigators identified the store employee who let the police into the basement as 35-year-old Richard Millwood. He is wanted in connection to the kidnapping.

He’s about 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds and was last seen wearing all black, cops said.

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Police do not have photographs of the other suspects, but are still searching for them.

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