The alleged kidnapper who held a Connecticut doctor hostage and forced him to pay for a $6,000 shopping spree was released on a “promise to appear” back in court – but wasn’t at the address he gave cops on Thursday, with his “baby mama” telling The Post he hasn’t lived there in five years.
Anthony Benjamin, 42, of the Bronx, also appears to have given Connecticut authorities the wrong phone number, with a woman on the other end saying she had no idea who he was when a reporter from The Post called.
At the Lafayette Avenue address — listed on Benjamin’s official release paperwork filed in Connecticut Superior Court — a woman who identified herself as the mother of his child said he hadn’t lived there for about five years. She would not comment further.
A neighbor confirmed this, telling The Post that Benjamin “hasn’t been around in some time.”
“I’m glad,” the neighbor said, adding that police would often have to break up domestic disputes when he did show up.
It’s not clear if court officials or the Norwalk Police Department have other means of contacting Benjamin, who allegedly kidnapped Michael Bautista, a 32-year-old ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon from Norwalk, outside the troubled Brooklyn Mirage music venue in the pre-dawn hours of July 22.
Representatives of the Connecticut Superior Court and the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk declined to comment Thursday.
Benjamin’s court-appointed attorney, Benjamin Aponte, did not respond to inquiries about whether he’d been in touch with his client. And the Norwalk Police Department seemed unconcerned when reached by The Post Thursday.
“You can’t find him for an interview, that’s not my problem,” said one officer, who identified himself as Det. Sgt. Young. “I have no comment.”
Despite initially facing bails of $1 million and $250,000, respectively, Benjamin and co-defendant Steve Daley were later cut loose after they promised to appear again in court, with their next hearing set for Sept. 19.
They also agreed to have no contact with Bautista.
It’s not clear why they were allowed to walk, considering the seriousness of their charges.
The strange turns may further complicate an already bizarre case.
The doctor said he was kidnapped by Benjamin after going with friends to a late-night July 21 show at the Mirage, the venue reported to be a magnet for shadowy characters looking to take advantage of drunk or otherwise impaired patrons stumbling out after events.
This summer, two 27-year-old men disappeared from the site on two different nights before each turned up dead in a nearby creek that runs through Brooklyn’s industrial section.
After allegedly abducting Bautista, Benjamin forced him to foot the bill for a wild traipse through the Bronx on July 22 and 23 that cost more than $6,100. Much of that was spent on shoes, hats, pizza, smoothies, haircuts and a strip club, according to police sources and an incident report from the Norwalk Police Department.
Bautista has not responded to several requests for comment, and would not talk to a reporter from The Post outside his Norwalk office on Thursday.
Throughout their odyssey, Benjamin allegedly told Bautista that he was “packing,” and touched his waistband as if he had a handgun. It’s not clear if he was actually armed.
The doctor tried to play it cool until he could find a way out, cops said.
But Benjamin got more aggressive as time went on, telling Bautista that he had “put people in body bags before” and he wasn’t afraid to “let bullets fly,” according to the police report.
“If you do anything funny, I’ll kill you,” Benjamin allegedly told Bautista, according to law enforcement sources.
Eventually, the doctor convinced Benjamin to drive him back up to Connecticut so he could go to work at Norwalk Hospital on Sunday morning. Once inside, he tipped off security that Benjamin and Daley had kidnapped him and were waiting outside, the police report states.
Cops arrested the pair.They charged Benjamin with second-degree kidnapping with a firearm and possession of a controlled substance, and Daley with conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping.
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