Newest Dumbest Criminals

Three men who kidnapped a New Jersey man and drove him 1,200 miles to Missouri had apparently mistaken their captive for another man with the same name, The New York Post reported Tuesday.

The thugs, arrested after their alleged victim was spotted trying to escape, are also suspected in another case of mistaken identity -- a November home invasion in which they shot a man whom they also incorrectly thought was their guy, Vernon County, Mo., Sheriff Ron Peckman said.

"Makes for a good movie," Peckman told The Post.

He said the three men -- whom he called "bumbling idiots" -- had abducted Jeff Muller, of Newton, NJ, while hunting another Jeff Muller over "possibly something to do with a business dealing."

The victim, 59, a pet-supply shop owner, told police he was approached outside his store on Friday by the men, who asked him whether he was Jeff Muller.

When he replied "yes," Muller was shot with a stun gun, bound, stuffed into a car and driven to the kidnappers' home state of Missouri, police said.

During the ride, Muller was allegedly tortured with the stun gun and beaten by the men, who also lied to him by saying they were holding his wife hostage.

Their already-botched plot went completely off the rails on Saturday, when they had car trouble in Lake Ozark, Mo., and a convenience-store clerk spotted Muller trying to escape and called cops

Arrested and charged with kidnapping were Douglas Stangeland, 48 of Nevada, Mo., and Lonnie Swarnes, 44, and Andrew Wadel, 21, both of Rich Hill, Mo.


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