Franklin Man Connected to Venango County Kidnapping Case Faces Hearing on Wednesday

| February 10, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday for a Franklin man in relation to the kidnapping of a local man.

According to court documents, a preliminary hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, in Venango County Central Court for 46-year-old Keith Dreux Harper, of Franklin, on the following charges:

– Conspiracy – Kidnap To Inflict Injury/Terror, Felony 1
– Conspiracy – Burglary – Overnight Accommodations; Person Present, Bodily Injury Crime, Felony 1
– Conspiracy – Criminal Trespass-Enter Structure, Felony 3
– Conspiracy – Riot-Intent To Commit Felony, Felony 3
– Conspiracy – Terroristic Threats With Intent To Terrorize Another, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Unlawful Restraint/Serious Bodily Injury, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Stalking – Repeatedly Commit Acts To Cause Fear, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – False Imprisonment, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – Coerce/Threaten To Commit Crime, Misdemeanor 2

Harper remains lodged in the Venango County Jail on $50,000.00 monetary bail.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, around 7:50 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, Patrolman Barnes, of the Franklin Police Department, was dispatched to a residence on Taylor Street to make contact with a female who reported that her boyfriend (the victim) had been abducted from their residence by three males.

Around 8:53 p.m. on Wednesday, the known victim arrived at the Oil City Police Department with Drake Shoemaker. The victim was transported to the Franklin Police Department for an interview. Initially, the victim told officers a cover story that was given to him by the men who abducted him. During a second interview, the victim confirmed that he had been abducted via threats of force.

Interview with Known Male

Patrolman Barnes arrived at the scene and interviewed a known male who stated he was visiting his children who lived with their mother; the children’s mother is the sister of the victim. While he was inside the residence, two men were outside demanding to know where the victim was.

The man confronted the two men, one of which was recognized as Drake Shoemaker.

According to the known male, the men again said they were looking for the victim and demanded to know where he was. The victim’s sister also told the two men that she didn’t know where her brother was. Shoemaker responded by stating “Bull***, you’re his sister.”

The known male told Patrolman Barnes that both Shoemaker and the unknown male stated that the victim had stolen a package and if he didn’t return it, “people were going to die.” The unknown male also allegedly stated that he had just gotten out of prison for murder, and they or the victim could be next. The known male reported that after the threats didn’t result in any information, they got into a black Chrysler 200, with a third male driver, and left the area, according to the complaint.

The known male stated that he attempted to call the victim, but was unable to connect with him, so he called the victim’s girlfriend. He stated that approximately 45 minutes after he spoke to the victim’s girlfriend, she called him back and reported that Shoemaker and an unknown male had just kidnapped her boyfriend.

Interview with Victim’s Girlfriend

Patrolman Barnes then conducted an interview with the victim’s girlfriend, who reported that she was on her way back to her residence with her younger siblings when she got a call from the known male telling her that Shoemaker and two other males were looking for her boyfriend, threatening to kill him. She stated that when she got home, at approximately 7:10 p.m., she got the children inside the residence and locked the doors. She was unable to get in touch with her boyfriend because he left his phone at home when he left for work.

She went on to state that her boyfriend got home from work around 7:15 p.m. and she told him what the known male had told her. She reported that about 10 minutes later they heard a knock on the door and when her younger brother unlocked the door, believing it was a friend who had been staying with them, Shoemaker and the unidentified male walked into the residence without invitation.

The victim’s girlfriend reported that a verbal argument then broke out, and the unknown male told the victim to leave with them, but the victim refused. At that point, the unknown male made threats to assault him and the other occupants of the apartment. She stated that after the threats were made to hurt his family, the victim surrendered and was pulled out of the apartment by his arm by the unknown male.

She went on to state that she watched the victim, Shoemaker, and the unknown male walk back to a black Chrysler 200. She noted that she was unable to see the driver and said that the victim was pushed into the back seat of the car. She added that the unknown male demanded both her and the victim’s phones before they left and said she had to use another phone to make subsequent calls.

Interview with Shoemaker

At 8:53 p.m., Franklin Police Department received a phone call from Oil City Police Department advising that the victim and Shoemaker had just walked into the station and the victim wanted to contact Franklin Police Department to let them know he was okay.

Oil City Police were asked to hold the victim, and Officer McConnell responded to Oil City Police Department to make contact with the victim and Shoemaker. Once there, Officer McConnell was able to verify that the victim was unharmed and transported him back to the Franklin Police Department for questioning.

A short interview of Shoemaker was conducted by Officer McConnell, with Lieutenant Love, of the Oil City Police Department, present.

According to the complaint, Shoemaker accused the victim’s girlfriend of “being crazy” and stated that “she makes (stuff) up all the time when she doesn’t get her way.” He also denied any knowledge of a crime and stated he and his cousin picked the victim up after he called and asked them to. Shoemaker said that the victim and his girlfriend were fighting, and the victim wanted to get away from her. He reported that since he can’t drive, his cousin took him, and they took the long way to Oil City to drop the victim off at another friend’s house.

Interviews with the Victim

The victim was initially questioned by Detective Saragain and Officer McConnell. During the initial questioning, the victim allegedly stated that he and his girlfriend had been in a fight and he called his “buddy,” Shoemaker, to pick him up so he could get away.

According to the complaint, during a second interview, after the situation and evidence were shown to the victim, he admitted to and confirmed that he had been abducted via threats of force. He confirmed that Shoemaker and an unknown male entered his residence and a verbal argument broke out, then the unidentified male demanded that the victim leave with them.

The victim said that when he stated he wasn’t going, the unknown male became aggressive. The victim told the officers that he agreed to leave with Shoemaker and the other male to get them away from his family. He said they walked to the car and got in and he sat in the back, behind the driver, with Shoemaker next to him and the unknown male in the passenger seat. The victim identified the driver as Keith D. Harper.

According to the complaint, the victim said that once he was in the car, the unidentified male pulled out a pocket knife and began to brandish it in his direction. The male then tapped his knee with the blade from the front seat multiple times in order to coerce him into calling his girlfriend and asking about a missing package.

The victim also reported that the male and Harper talked back and forth and made statements about things “getting crazy” and people “getting their throats cut.” The statements were not made to him, but the victim said he knew they were about him. The victim also stated that after officers became involved, Harper and the unidentified male dropped him and Shoemaker off in Oil City near the North Side Country Fair. They were told to walk to the Oil City Police Department, and the unidentified male gave him the cover story to tell the police.

Charges Filed Against Drake Shoemaker

The Franklin Police Department filed the following charges against Drake Shoemaker on Friday, January 25, in Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland’s office:

– Conspiracy – Kidnap To Inflict Injury/Terror, Felony 1
– Conspiracy – Burglary – Overnight Accommodations; Person Present, Bodily Injury Crime, Felony 1
– Conspiracy – Criminal Trespass-Enter Structure, Felony 3
– Conspiracy – Riot-Intent To Commit Felony, Felony 3
– Conspiracy – Terroristic Threats With Intent To Terrorize Another, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Unlawful Restraint/Serious Bodily Injury, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Stalking – Repeatedly Commit Acts To Cause Fear, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – False Imprisonment, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – Coerce/Threaten To Commit Crime, Misdemeanor 2
– Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, Misdemeanor 2

As of Sunday morning, February 10, there is still an active arrest warrant for Shoemaker.

RELATED:

One Arraigned, One At Large in Venango County Kidnapping


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