The harrowing story of former missing prosecutor Stan Alpert will air on an episode of 48 Hours this Christmas weekend. 48 Hours is giving you a double dose of crime. The first episode, “The Birthday Party,” will discuss the case that had New Yorkers on edge after Stan Alpert vanished and missed his birthday party. For hours, Alpert’s friends and family members feared the worst. But their fears were lifted after he was found safe. On this episode, his friend David Prager will give a detailed account of the events leading up to his disappearance. FBI special prosecutor Kathleen Flynn will also discuss the kidnapping case. During the second hour of CBS’ 48 Hours, the episode “Road To Redemption,” will air.
It was the cold winter of January 1998 when Stan Alpert failed to show up to work and later missed a birthday party that was being thrown for him in a club in the Downtown area of Manhattan. Immediately, friends and family members worried that something terrible had happened to Stan since he wasn’t the sort of person to not show up to work without notifying anyone, especially if he had appointments set up for the day.
And his 38th birthday bash would have been something that the federal prosecutor would have never missed. Friends became so concerned that one of them went to Stan Alpert’s New York City apartment, where two interesting voicemail messages were uncovered.
In the first disturbing message, a representative of a financial institution called to alert Stan Alpert that suspicious activity use was found on his credit card. The second horrifying message was from a person who stated that she found Stan Alpert’s wallet in Brooklyn’s Bed Stuy.
Now, everyone was sure that Stan Alpert was in trouble. However, trying to find him would be next to impossible. According to 48 Hours‘ coverage, police theorized that his disappearance and apparent abduction could have had ties to his job as a prosecutor. Also, there was the idea that he could have simply walked away from his life.
No one could think of any legitimate business that Stan Alpert would have in Brooklyn. Miraculously, Stan was found alive in Prospect Park after he was freed. Authorities say it was all an elaborate plan by several people to get some quick cash. A couple of bizarre facts that stand out about the case is that the prosecutor was offered drugs and free sex during the ordeal, according to an interview with NY Mag.
“I wish I hadn’t gotten in that car. They grabbed me on the street, they stuck a large automatic machine pistol in my gut, they stuck a pistol in my face, they blindfolded me, they hustled me to some place, they put me down on a mattress, I overheard phone calls where they say they’re getting a guy to go watch my father’s apartment and break every bone in his body if I don’t cooperate. Some prostitutes showed up. Eventually they calmed down. They had sex with the girls, they smoked pot. The next day, I had a turkey sandwich that they bought. The sensation of absolute terror abated somewhat. Of course, it revived itself toward the end, when I thought they were going to shoot me.”
The New York Times listed the kidnappers as follows. 22-year-old Luis Sanchez, 19-year-old Wilbur Ford, 18-year-old Terrence Agostini and Shawn Limerick, along with three 16-year-old teens, Dayanes Sanabria, Bernice Williamson, and Kenyatta Bandele.
It was later learned that the kidnappers grabbed Stan Alpert just as he was leaving an evening dinner then held him at gunpoint while forcing him to give up his passwords so they could access his credit cards. Luckily, Alpert managed to maneuver his way out of what could have turned out to be a tragic ending.
He lived to talk about his story, which he penned in the book The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival.
To hear more about Stanley Alpert’s abduction, tune into CBS 48 Hours tonight at 9/8 p.m. Central. In another episode of 48 Hours, the story of Sebastien Bellin was told.
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