PRINEVILLE, Ore. (AP) — A 73-year-old Prineville robbery victim was tied up so tightly that his swollen, bloody hands might soon have had to be amputated, Crook County authorities said Thursday.
An Oregon state trooper stopped the victim’s Jeep Wrangler on Wednesday night because its lights were out. When the driver said he’d borrowed the vehicle, officers were dispatched to the owner’s house to check it out.
Looking through a kitchen window, they saw Leo Novak tied to a chair, his hands behind his back and tied to the chair.
“Novak’s hands were swollen to the size of grapefruits and bleeding near the ligature marks,” said a statement from the sheriff’s office.
The emergency room doctor told officers Novak might have lost the hands if he’d been tied much longer.
“It was good police work and luck” that he was found in time, said Crook County Undersheriff John Gautney.
The suspect, 20-year-old Skyler Suchodolski, faces robbery, kidnapping, assault and other charges. Among the stolen items were coins, firearms and ammunition.
Novak told officers he’d been bound for five hours, the sheriff’s office said, and that Suchodolski put a handgun to his head, threatening to kill him.
Suchodolski once lived on the same road as Novak just outside the Prineville city limits and had a girlfriend nearby, Gautney said.
Suchodolski and the man had known each other for about a month, Gautney said, but details of their relationship were not immediately available.
A report on Novak’s condition was not immediately available on Thursday.
The sheriff’s office said he was taken to Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville. He was no longer listed as a patient on Thursday morning, Gautney said, and the hospital could release no information. A phone number listed in his name had been disconnected on Thursday.
The case was assigned to the public defender’s office in central Oregon. A call for comment was not immediately returned.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.