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Man accused of faking his own abduction in Super Bowl squares scheme

A North Tonawanda man was found tied up in his truck in a parking lot. He told state troopers he had been abducted and robbed of $16,000 cash from a Super Bowl squares pool he ran.

The state police say he made it all up.

Robert A. Brandel, 60, fabricated a story of being abducted and robbed because he had also concocted part of his $50,000 Super Bowl squares pool, according to the state police. Brandel was arrested on Wednesday for first-degree scheme to defraud, a felony, and third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.

According to the state police release, its investigation revealed that "this elaborate story was fabricated because Brandel was running a $50,000 payout Super Bowl pool in which he made up names on some of the squares hoping to win and take most of the winnings." Troopers said Brandel was unable to make the payouts and was short for most of the $50,000.

According to troopers, shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday they responded to the Tops parking lot on Lockport-Olcott Road in Newfane for a man found tied up in a vehicle.

Troopers said they located the blue Ford F-150 parked with a single occupant in the back seat; the man had a rope tied around his neck attached to the head rest while his hands and ankles were bound with duct tape. Troopers said they rescued the man, identified as Robert Brandel, took a deposition from him and processed the vehicle for evidence.

Troopers said Brandel told them that on Feb. 25, he picked up two males that were involved in his Super Bowl squares, and that once they entered his vehicle, one of the males brandished a pistol and took $16,000 cash he had from the Super Bowl squares.

Brandel then told troopers that the men made him drive around to various places in Western New York for two days against his will. He told troopers that the men tied him up in the back seat of his vehicle and left him in the Tops parking lot Tuesday night.

Troopers said that they conducted further investigation and interviews which revealed that Brandel's story was fabricated.

Brandel was taken to the state police station in Lockport and processed. He was issued appearance tickets for the Newfane Town Court returnable in March.

In Super Bowl VIII, the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. Traditional squares pools would have the number combination of 3-3 winning the third quarter and the final score, while 0-0 would have won the first quarter and Patriots 3-Rams 0 would have won the second.

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