Lawton_A missing bank bag led to an extortion investigation in Lawton, and the arrest of a homeless man.
Police say it started when a worker at a title and closing company dropped the bank bag in the business parking lot in the 1700 block of Gore Blvd. Some time later, investigators say a homeless man found it, and refused to return it to the company unless they paid him some cash. The title company called police after hearing from the man.
Investigators say there was no cash in the bank bag, so the man tried another approach to make some money from his find. "An individual found the bag, made a phone call to the lady's business saying he had found the bag," says Captain Will Hines from the Lawton Police Department. "However, he was not going to return it without some payment."
Police say the request raised a red flag with the worker who lost the bag, and that's when they got the call. From there, authorities recorded the company's next phone conversation with the man. "When they were speaking on the phone she said something to the effect of, 'so you want 400 dollars for the bag?' And he said 'no you're offering me 400 dollars for the bag,'" says Hines.
Sure enough, investigators say the man arrived at the business a short time later. "After he got there, there was an exchange of money for the bag. Officers were standing by, and they made an arrest on him," says Hines.
Detectives say the entire encounter was caught on tape. 58-year-old Lehman Pekaquanard was jailed and booked on an extortion complaint. However, today, prosecutors have charged him with a misdemeanor count of larceny of stolen property. "You can't take somebody's property that you know is lost," says Hines. "You can't hold it for ransom, and you can't ask someone to pay you to get the lost property back. It makes it illegal."
A representative for Title and Closing, Inc. did not want to talk about the case, but one can only speculate what the experience was like. "Anytime you have bank bag missing you're very interested in getting this back and a lot of people feel the same way," says Hines. "He should have given it back, that was the right thing to do, but he chose not to do that."