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Kidnapping victim defends kidnapper

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 16 2013 09:32:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 16 2013 10:35:08 PM CDT

Kidnapping victim defends kidnapper

CUMRU TWP., Pa. -

A dispute over an alleged $80 drug debt led to the knife-point kidnapping of a woman and the assault of a man in Berks County, court documents indicate.

The ordeal began early Thursday morning when Lisa Palumbo was awakened by Napoleon Stephany, a man who had been staying at her and her sister's apartment in Cumru Township while repairs were being done on his home, police said.

Stephany, 22, demanded that Palumbo, 43, tell him where her friend, Christopher Rimmel, lives because Stephany wanted to collect money he's owed, police said.

Stephany's demands and threats against Rimmel, police said, prompted Palumbo to tell Stephany that she was going to call the police.

Stephany, in turn, took Palumbo and her sister's cell phones, forced Palumbo into his car at knife-point and demanded that she direct him to Rimmel's home, who lives in the 100 block of Bordic Road in Exeter Township, police said.

Once there, police said Stephany forced his way inside Rimmel's home and attempted to assault him with the knife.

Meanwhile, Palumbo ran to a neighbor's home to call 911.

"And she was saying that some guy was chasing them and trying to kill them. So I let her come in and call the cops," said Nathan Smith, neighbor.

Exeter officers arrived to find Stephany chasing Rimmel, 44, around the outside of the home with the knife, prompting Stephany to run inside Rimmel's home and lock the door behind him, police said.

The officers subsequently managed to persuade Stephany to surrender.

Palumbo contacted 69 News, and gave the following statement.

"I just know he was trying to put a fear in us. I don't truly believe that he would hurt us, especially not me. I was just in fear in that moment because you don't know what people are capable of when they're under the influence. I can truly say that boy would never touch me," said Palumbo.

Stephany was charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple and aggravated assault, burglary, theft and possessing an instrument of crime. He was committed to the Berks County Jail on $100,000 bail.