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New York contractor says gun-toting restaurateur kidnapped him over unfinished renovations

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An off-the-books contractor in New York City has claimed that the owner of a Brooklyn restaurant and kidnapped him at gunpoint last week and forced him to remain in the owner’s house for two nights after a dispute about the unfinished renovations.

An NYPD source confirmed details of a kidnapping complaint by Venacio Julajuj, 32, who for the first time was Wednesday, reported by the Daily News.

Julajuj told the newspaper that he was paid $25,000 for the renovation of the restaurant, but used the advance to fund another project. On Thursday 16 May, the owner of the restaurant told Julajuj to meet him in Midtown Manhattan. After the contractor balked at a $15,000 offer to start the job, the unknown owner and a friend forced him to get on the subway to Brooklyn.

The police source said the owner of the restaurant allegedly demanded $ 25,000 in cash, which the source described as “in effect, ransom.” Juljajuj told the Daily News that the owner called him, his brother, Gustavo and his friends to get the money.

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“He took my ID, my passport and my phone,” Julajuj told the newspaper. “Then he showed me the gun. He said today is your last day. I saw five bullets in the gun. He asked me where I lived and where my wife was. I would not give it to him. I told him this deal is between you and me.”

Julajuj said the owner of the restaurant kept him in his house Thursday with his arms and legs bound. He was reportedly fed water, a banana, potatoes and a Snickers bar.

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The contractor’s brother and his sometime-boss reported his disappearance to the police on Friday; Julajaj told the Daily News that the officers visited the residence of the owner on Saturday morning, while he was still inside.

“I couldn’t say anything,” Julajuj. “He had the gun.”

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Shortly after the police left, the owner of the restaurant released Julajuj, telling him that he was “another chance to complete the task.”

The police source said Julajuj sustained minor bruises and abrasions, but required no medical attention. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

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