Robbery Reveals Plot to Kidnap Columbia Sportswear Chairwoman Gert Boyle

Steve Mayes, Oregonian, Nov. 16, 2010

The robbery of Gert Boyle last week was part of a plot to kidnap the 86-year-old chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear and hold her for an undisclosed ransom, according to documents released Tuesday by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

A law-enforcement source familiar with the investigation said the kidnap plot appears to be “part of a larger conspiracy” extending beyond the three suspects now in custody.

Details of the plot remain unclear. Investigators declined to discuss who planned the crime, how many people were involved and whether more arrests are imminent.

Three Honduran immigrants, all from the Beaverton area, are being held in the Clackamas County Jail on charges including burglary, robbery, coercion, assault and kidnapping. Federal authorities have placed holds on all three suspects for investigation of their immigration status.

One of the men, Jose Luis Arevalo, 47, told investigators that he drove his van to Boyle’s house “for the purpose of kidnapping her in exchange for $20,000,” according to a probable cause document filed with the Clackamas County Jail.

The other two suspects, Ramon Alberto Midence, 41, and Nestor Gabriel Caballero Gutierrez, 39, also admitted participating in the robbery of Boyle, according to the documents.

Caballero Gutierrez confessed to robbing Boyle, according to the documents, and Midence said he was aware of what Caballero Gutierrez “was going to do when he dropped him off at the victim’s residence.” Midence said he was not told how much he would be paid.

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Boyle had immediately become suspicious when the robber approached her offering a gift basket. As she tried to move away from the man, he pulled a handgun and demanded entry to her home.

Boyle pretended to go along with the gunman, telling him she had to disable the home alarm system. Instead, she pushed the silent panic button.

Within minutes, officer were at the door, and the robber fled. Several hours later, police found Caballero Gutierrez walking down a street wet, muddy and limping. He was carrying some of Boyle’s jewelry.

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The three gentlemen from Honduras.

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