LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Kidnap victim says police officers 'saved my life'


A Taylorsville Lake gas station attendant says two Louisville police officers saved his life when they pulled him bound and gagged from the trunk of his car Saturday morning - hours after he was kidnapped from the store by three people.

Shawn Bloemer, whose voice trembled as he spoke with The Courier-Journal, said he thought he was "going to die in that trunk" as he struggled to breathe through a towel tied around his head.

"It was so hard to breath," he said. "Those officers saved my life, without a doubt."

His mother, Jenny Kurtz, called the traffic stop and actions of Louisville Metro police Officers Fred Wilson and Daniel Goldberg a "miracle."

"I am convinced that my son would be dead today if it were not for these officers," Jenny Kurtz told The Courier-Journal. "If they had not stopped the car ... it gives me cold chills just thinking about what could have happened. I will be forever grateful to these officers."

Brittany Elder, 28; Trent Blye, 27; and Joseph Davis, 28, have been charged with kidnapping, first-degree wanton endangerment and theft by unlawful taking related to the theft of Bloemer's car. They are being held in Metro Corrections and will be arraigned at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Maj. Don Burbrink, commander of the Louisville Metro Police Department's 6th Division, said Wilson stopped the beige-colored Honda Accord on Taylorsville Road near Hurstbourne Parkway around 3:30 a.m. Saturday moments after spotting the car as it passed a gas station near Breckenridge Lane and Taylorsville Road.

"The officer said he felt something was suspicious about the vehicle, so he went to follow it," Burbrink said. "When he pulled up to the side of the vehicle, he saw a female slump down in the seat and noticed that the three occupants were not wearing seat belts. He pulled back behind the car and he noticed it had expired license plate tags, so he initiated a traffic stop."

As Wilson called for assistance, Goldberg was on his way home from work and stopped at the scene, in front of the Old Chicago restaurant.

"When the two officers were talking to the three people in the car, they noticed that the car was moving, but noticed that none of the three people had moved, so they knew something wasn't right," Burbrink said. "Around that time, the officers heard some noise coming from the trunk of the car."

Bloemer said he had been working at the Circle K gas station near Taylorsville Lake in southeastern Jefferson County on Friday evening when the suspects entered and said they had a flat tire.

"They asked if I had a tire tool or sold anything like that, and I told them no," he said. "They pulled their car to the back of the gas station by the air pump and were out there for about an hour. I didn't really think anything of it and finished closing the store."

Louisville Metro Detective Rob Jones said when Bloemer went to get in his car, he realized a tire had been taken off his car by the suspects.

"They then began to assault him," Jones said. "They then tied him up with a T-shirt, put a towel around his face and put him in the trunk of his car and took off."

Jones said they drove around with Bloemer in the trunk for four hours.

"I was passing out off and on - I was scared," Bloemer said. "I had no idea what they were going to do to me."

At one point, he said he woke up and realized the car was stopped and the engine was turned off.

"I heard a voice asking for a license and registration and about that time I could see flashing lights come through a small gap in the tail light and I realized it was a police officer," he said. "I started to bang and kick on the trunk. I was trying to do whatever I could to get the officers to notice me. I knew this was my only chance to be rescued."

Bloemer said he heard dozens of sirens, and then one of the officers popped open the trunk.

"At first they told me to put my hands up, but then they saw the towel around my face and the T-shirt that had been tied around my wrists," Bloemer said.

Burbrink said Goldberg noticed that Bloemer was dehydrated and offered him water and let him sit in the air-conditioned car while they waited for an ambulance.

He said the rescue was a case of experienced officers following their instinct and is recommending they receive an award. "I think they saved this kid's life," Burbrink said.

Bloemer, who suffered abrasions and a fractured rib, was released from the hospital only hours after his ordeal was over.

Kurtz said she doesn't know how to thank the officers. "There are no words. I want to meet these officers and when I do, I am going to give them a huge hug."

Bloemer said he wants to meet his rescuers again.

"I just want to tell them thank you," he said, breaking into tears. "There are not many words, nothing I could ever say to repay them for what they did. It was a very scary experience."