Two suspects have been apprehended and charged connected to an alleged kidnapping and armed robbery that occurred about 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 10, 2023, at an automotive business at 622 East Northwest Highway in Des Plaines. Possibly eight suspects are still at large after up to 10 masked offenders armed with rifles and handguns entered the automotive business on Northwest Highway just east of the Golf Road underpass. Three victims in the business stated that there were several offenders involved, and that they may have been set up by one of the offenders before all the offenders attempted to embezzle money from the victims.
Following an investigation by the Des Plaines Police Department, the following two individuals were each charged with three counts of Aggravated Kidnapping and three counts of Armed Robbery …
George P. Athanasakos, age 24, 6N280 Elmwood Ave. Wood Dale
Brandon D. Bratcher, age 27, 6300 Church Rd. Apt #314B, Hanover Park
Bratcher was also charged with one count of Residential Burglary.
Des Plaines police received a report of the crime on Saturday, February 11, 2023 from the three victims. Two adult male victims and one adult female victim contacted the Des Plaines Police to report kidnapping and other offenses, including torture.
The victims reported that they were kidnapped while working at a car dealership and automotive business located in a shared commercial building at 622 East Northwest Highway about 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 10, 2023. Two of the victims own the automotive business, and the third victim is an employee at the business. The victims reported to police that they were forcibly removed from the business; then they were transported in a van from the automotive business to a house in Woodstock in McHenry County. Next, they were allegedly beaten, burned, tortured, and restrained until the early morning hours of Saturday, February 11. Kidnapper then drove the victims in the van back to the auto business in Des Plaines, left the van, and fled in automobiles stolen from the automotive business.
A subsequent investigation by Des Plaines Investigators discovered that the victims knew Athanasakos and Bratcher from prior dealings involved with buying and refurbishing vehicles. The automotive business also involves vehicle customization, performance work, and exotic cars. One of the victims recognized both Athanasakos and Bratcher acting as offenders while the crime was in progress.
On the night of February 10th, the three victims and the Bratcher suspect were at the dealership before several masked offenders, including Athanasakos, entered the dealership armed with rifles and handguns. The three victims were robbed of their personal belongings. The offenders then bound the victim’s hands and feet, covered their heads, and forced them into a van. The victims were driven to the house (undisclosed location) in Woodstock where they were beaten repeatedly, burned with a hot metal object, and restrained throughout the night. Both Athanasakos and Bratcher were positively identified by one of the victims during the incident. The victims were driven back to the car dealership the following morning and were told they had to pay the offenders a substantial amount of money. The offenders allegedly threatened violence if the victim would not pay.
Athanasakos was taken into custody on Thursday, February 16, 2023 in Palatine by Des Plaines police investigators.
Bratcher was taken into custody on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 in Arlington Heights by Des Plaines police officers.
Although a person may be charged with a crime, a charge is merely an accusation, and the person is innocent until proven guilty.
— Des Plaines Police Department
After attending a bond hearing, both Athanasakos and Bratcher were held in Cook County Jail without bond.
George Athanasakos is in custody in Cook County Jail Division 2. His next court date is in the Criminal Court Building, 2650 South California on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
Athanasakos has another court date in Cook County Circuit Court Skokie on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
Brandon Bratcher is in custody in Cook County Jail Division 8. His next court date is in Cook County Circuit Court Skokie on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
After a thorough investigation by Des Plaines Police Investigators, the police department stated that investigators are confident that the victims were specifically targeted, and there is no immediate threat to the general public.
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