According to British authorities, singer Joss Stone was the intended target of a recent kidnapping plot, which was discovered after two men were arrested with swords, a body bag, and detailed maps of the singer’s home. But hey, let’s hold off judgment. For all we know, they may have been some sort of ninja morticians on their way to a convention that happened to be taking place in Stone’s basement. Innocent until proven guilty, that’s what I say.
Stone may be the most recent high-profile victim of such a plot, but she’s hardly unique. Throughout the years, celebrities have been constantly targeted by would-be kidnappers looking for a quick score. Here are seven examples.
Note: Why no Lindbergh baby? Because baby murder is a downer, ya sicko.
In 2003, David Letterman became a father. Fifteen months later, a house painter at his Montana ranch was arrested for plotting to kidnap the child as well as the boy’s nanny. Kelly Frank plead guilty to lessor charges, and was sentenced to 10 years. However, he briefly escaped in 2007, before being apprehended a few days later.
Victoria Beckham has been the victim of at least two kidnapping plots, and one credible death threat. Well, I guess that’s the price you pay for being part of one of the most annoying bands in history. In 2000, Scotland Yard detectives moved Victoria to a safe house after a plot to kidnap her and her child was discovered. A second plot was foiled in 2002, but no one was charged, and there is some debate as to the credibility of the threat. However, the most interesting event happened in March of 2000. While rehearsing for the Brit Awards, a red dot appeared on Beckham’s chest, causing a panic. She was rushed off the stage, but no one was hurt. However, a fire-exit door was found open, leading to speculation that it had been used by the would-be assassin. Unfortunately, police were never able to apprehend me the suspect.
While dinning at a Lake Tahoe restaurant, Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped, blindfolded, placed in a trunk, and driven to Los Angeles. He was released unharmed two days later after his father paid $240,000 in ransom. The perpetrators were eventually caught, and the money was returned. As if the kidnapping was bad enough, Sinatra also had to endure rumors that he set the whole thing up in order to gain publicity for his fledgling music career, a charge that was completely false, although somewhat hilarious.
According to the FBI, Russell Crowe was the victim of a 2001 kidnapping plot by al-Qaeda, which was part of a larger plan to “culturally destabilize” the United States. I’m not sure how kidnapping a bunch of actors, especially those from Australia, would damage the U.S., but I will say I like the plan a lot better than the one they went with: hijacking planes and flying them into buildings. For a while, Crowe received protection from Secret Service agents, although they were tight lipped about the exact nature of the threat. According to an interview with GQ, Crowe says he “never fully understood what in the f*ck was going on.”
Not all kidnapping plots revolve around money. Sometimes, they revolve around the voices in your head. At least that was the case with Jonathan Norman, a paranoid schizophrenic fan who was found trespassing on the Steven Spielberg’s property. Police found “pictures of Spielberg and his family, duct tape, curtain rods, handcuffs and a utility knife” in Norman’s possession, and claim he ultimately intended to rape the director. Despite the fact that Spielberg’s last sequel raped the memory on Indiana Jones, I’ve never been a big believer in “an eye for an eye,” so I’m glad Norman’s plan fell apart.
This celebrity couple was so worried about the prospect of their children being kidnapped that they allegedly hired ex-special forces members as bodyguards. Whether or not this level of security is warranted is debatable, but given Douglas’ personal history, it’s easy to understand. At the age of six, he was the victim of an attempted kidnapping outside his father Kirk Douglas’ apartment. Luckily, he managed to escape and hide until the would-be kidnappers gave up.
The Material Girl’s conversion to Kabbalah wasn’t enough to keep her safe in the Holy Land. Considering the source of the threat, perhaps it actually made things worse. In 2004, a Palestinian group sent the singer threatening letters with detailed information about her children. Madonna was so disturbed by the event that she decided to cancel her remaining Israeli concerts.