Surry man pleads not guilty to kidnapping car seller, driving him to Delaware

Posted June 17, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Surry man arrested last month in North Carolina after a high-speed police chase denied Monday in U.S. District Court that he kidnapped a man at gunpoint and drove the victim to Delaware in the trunk of his own car.

Travis R. Landry, 29, pleaded not guilty to one count each of kidnapping and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

He also agreed to be held without bail pending the outcome of his case.

The alleged incident that led to federal charges being filed against Landry began on April 24 when the victim, who lives in Gorham, met Landry at a Portland motel, according to the complaint filed May 15. The 19-year-old met Landry about 6 p.m. intending to show his car to a prospective buyer.

After Landry took the 2004 gray BMW sedan for a test drive with the seller in the passenger seat, he signed a bill of sale for the car and handed the victim an envelope. Landry then forced the victim into the trunk of the car by showing a gun in his waistband, the complaint said.

Fearing for his life, the victim got into the trunk and Landry took the man’s cellphone, according to the court document. A short time later, Landry opened the trunk and demanded the victim give him his wallet and the PIN for his debit card. Landry also allegedly cut off the plastic handle of the emergency trunk release cable.

After about eight hours of driving, Landry allegedly stopped the car, opened the trunk and let the victim go. The man eventually found an open doughnut shop, learned he was in Newark, Del., and called police.

Landry made his way to Killeen, Texas, where his father lives, and met up with a female schoolteacher he had been communicating with online, according to the court document. She had wired Landry $200 on two separate occasions as he made his way from the East Coast to Texas. He arrived in Killeen on April 26 and stayed with the teacher until April 30, when Landry allegedly stole her vacuum cleaner, iPad, camera and debit card.

He was last seen in Texas on May 6 with his father’s estranged wife, according to the complaint. The woman reported the next day that she had heard from Landry that day but “Travis said he had to hang up because he was being chased by the police.”

Landry was stopped on May 7 by a Granville County sheriff’s deputy for speeding and a window tint violation, the complaint said. After initially stopping, Landry quickly drove away and “the deputy engaged in a high speed chase” that ended with a collision between the BMW and one or more police cruisers.

Information about pending charges in North Carolina was not available late Monday.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on the kidnapping charge alone.

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