The Kidnapping I Can’t Escape

On Nov. 12, 1974, my father’s childhood friend Jack Teich was kidnapped out of his driveway in the nicest part of the nicest part of Long Island. He was arriving home from work at Acme Steel Partition and Door, the steel-fabrication company that his family owned in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It was 6:40 p.m., and it was raining. He pulled up to the house and killed the engine of his Lincoln coupe but saw that the white exterior of the garage door still glowed even though he had turned his high beams off. He twisted around in the driver’s seat and saw another car in the driveway, its headlights blinding him.

“Excuse me,” a man called. He was now outside the car, but Jack could see him only in silhouette because of how bright the headlights were. “You know how to get to Northern Boulevard?”

Jack stepped out of his car. He was surprised. His street was so far off the commuter path that it would be hard to get lost and end up there looking for Northern Boulevard. In fact, when Jack saw headlights in his rearview mirror as he approached the house that night, he thought how strange and rare it was to be on that same road with anyone.

“Excuse me?” Jack asked.

But now the man was approaching. As he grew closer, Jack saw that he was wearing a ski mask and holding a long-barrel silver pistol. That’s when he also saw a second man, taller, this one holding a shotgun and also wearing a ski mask.

“You’re coming with us,” the first man said. “Get over here or we’re going to blow your head off!”

Jack froze for a moment. He considered running behind the house, into the thicket of trees there, but he thought about his wife, Janet, and his two small sons, 6-year-old Marc and 2-year-old Michael, who were in the house right then, how running might put them in danger.

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