3 charged in Wyandotte fake kidnapping; money demanded from mother, ex-girlfriend

Suspects charged with embezzlement

Matthew Brown (center), James Pinoniemi (left), and Lindsey Johnson (right).

WYANDOTTE, Mich. – A man and two of his suspected accomplices were charged in a faked kidnapping in Wyandotte.

According to police, a woman was sitting in her vehicle outside her home Nov. 20 at about 3 a.m. when her estranged boyfriend’s vehicle pulled up alongside her with a woman behind the wheel.

The vehicle belongs to 26-year-old Matthew Brown. The woman behind the wheel was Lindsay Johnson, police said.

Johnson allegedly demanded money from the ex-girlfriend if she wanted to see Brown again. The woman complied and was followed to the ATM where she withdrew $280. She was told she would hear from the kidnappers soon.

When she didn’t hear back, she contacted Brown’s mother.

Both women reported the incident later that day to police.

The ex-girlfriend began receiving text messages from Brown’s phone implying Brown’s life was in danger if a ransom of $2,000 was not paid. They were told not to contact police and to bring unmarked bills. The text messages included a picture of Brown on the ground with bruises on his face.

The mother agreed to give the kidnappers the money in exchange for her son.

Police were led to a home in the 2100 block of 2nd Street in Wyandotte where Brown’s vehicle could be seen in the garage. Officers believed Brown was in imminent danger and entered the home.

Brown was found inside with two other individuals. Police said evidence of crack cocaine use was in the home and all three suspects confessed to the hoax as an effort to embezzle money from the woman and the mother.

Matthew Brown, Kenneth Pinoniemi, 38, and Lindsay Johnson, 34, were all charged with embezzlement.