It's a strange story of an alleged abduction that ended with an unconscious man tied up with a cellphone cord on the side of a Buffalo highway.
The victim's family believes it may have been a hate crime against a gay man. Buffalo police say the motive appears to have been robbery.
A Buffalo man told police he was kidnapped from a Black Rock barbershop and held captive for more than three days before being left next to the Niagara Thruway. He was found next to the Vulcan Street off-ramp last Tuesday morning.
The 40-year-old victim told Buffalo police he was dragged into a van with a hood over his head and kept tied up while he was beaten and drugged.
The barbershop owner, who spent time in prison after multiple convictions for driving while intoxicated and who has several other arrests, has been charged with kidnapping. Police say they are still looking for the three other suspects the victim said abducted him.
The victim's husband, William Collins-Currie, said he suspects the episode was a hate crime.
"I think it's because they knew he's gay," Collins-Currie told The Buffalo News.
Pablo O. Alicea, 37, owner of Xclusive Cutz, faces multiple charges, including kidnapping, robbery, assault and grand larceny. He was held on $85,000 bail.
The victim told police he was in the barbershop on Niagara Street, near Hertel Avenue, around 6 p.m Oct. 12. He had been a customer of the barbershop before without any problems, his husband said.
The next morning, the victim's husband went to police and filed a report about his missing spouse, whom he hadn't seen since that Friday morning.
"I was frantic," Collins-Currie said. "I must have called his mom at least 12 times a day. I would drive around town literally in tears, searching everywhere myself. I didn't want to think the worst. I just wanted to look and look."
He didn't hear anything from police until an investigator with the State Police called him after authorities found his husband bound and in the grass on the side of the I-190. An Erie County sheriff's deputy reported from the scene that the man had a cellphone charging cord wrapped around his hands, police said.
The victim told his husband that he was kept in a basement at an unknown location. His abductors gave him water but no food. Every time he drank the water, he would become dizzy, so he suspects his captors put a drug in the liquid.
Buffalo police said blood work was done at the hospital to determine what substances may have been in his system, but the results are not yet known.
The victim suffered bruising and swelling to his face and upper torso, and he was treated at Erie County Medical Center and released later that day. The victim's wallet and jacket were stolen.
The motive appears to have been robbery, said Buffalo Police Capt. Jeffrey Rinaldo. Detectives are working on tracking down the other assailants, he said.
Alicea was released from Livingston Correctional Facility in August 2014 after serving nearly two years in prison, according to state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records. Alicea had been arrested in April 2012 in Buffalo on a driving while intoxicated charge, after already having been convicted of alcohol-related driving charges in 2009 and 2010, according to a Buffalo News report at the time of the 2012 arrest.
He has at least three other arrests, all of which resulted in either misdemeanor- or violation-level charges.
In May 2017, Alicea was charged with assault after being accused of punching a woman, pulling her hair and striking her three times with a metal pipe on Niagara Street, according to a Buffalo police report. He pleaded guilty to attempted resisting arrest and was given a conditional discharge, according to Buffalo City Court records. In September 2014, he was charged with trespassing and harassment after an arrest on Niagara Street. There was no public record of the disposition of that case. In July 2012, Alicea was arrested on criminal mischief and other charges on West Utica Street. He pleaded guilty to attempted fourth-degree criminal mischief and was sentenced to time served, according to court records.
Diana Alicea, Pablo's wife, said her husband had nothing to do with the alleged abduction and the family is going to try to hire an attorney.
She said her husband works nearly seven days a week in the barbershop. He's also been sober for 10 weeks.
"It doesn't make any sense," she said of the allegations.
Alicea remained in custody Monday in the Erie County Holding Center.