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Police: Spat between rival motorcycle clubs fuels kidnapping, assault in Lake City

Published in General News

LAKE CITY — A 29-year-old man who reported being kidnapped, beaten up and robbed by four men at a borough residence in late February told investigators that the attack was fueled by allegations he stole from a rival motorcycle club and had relations with a club member’s “old lady,” according to case records.

The victim told police he had a sawed-off shotgun held to the back of his head and was handcuffed to a chair in the kitchen, according to the records.

Three of the four suspects accused in the Feb. 27 attack were arraigned and jailed Thursday on charges including felony counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

They are Nathaniel Lesert, 32, of McKean; Mark A. Libby, 51, of Lake City; and James M. Ochs, 48, of Erie.

The fourth suspect, 32-year-old Lake City resident Eric M. Watkins, is free on bond following his arraignment March 3 on a felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of simple assault and unlawful restraint.

Lake City police accuse the four of assaulting the 29-year-old man after he said he was attacked after going to meet Watkins at a residence in the 9900 block of Martin Avenue on Feb. 27.

The victim said he had multiple items taken from him during the attack, police reported. Those items included a 9 mm pistol, a knife and a hatchet, according to the information outlined in the criminal complaints.

Police wrote in the affidavits that the man who said he was attacked told police that he was a member of a motorcycle club, the Hard Heads, and was friends with Watkins, who the man said was an “alleged member” of another motorcycle club, the Iron Wings.

The man said he went to meet with Watkins due to the other club “having allegations towards him that he was stealing from the club and having relations with a club member’s girlfriend or ‘old lady,'” according to the affidavits.

The man said he was confronted at gunpoint after entering the Martin Avenue residence, including having a sawed-off shotgun pointed at the back of his head, and was handcuffed to a chair in the kitchen. He said he was pistol-whipped, punched and kicked in the face and body and was struck in the face with brass knuckles, investigators wrote in the affidavits.

The man told police the beating continued until early the next morning, when he said the suspects told him to leave. The man reported the attack to borough police on March 1.

The man identified Watkins as a suspect by name but identified the others only by nicknames. Investigators wrote in the affidavits that they were able to identify the others as Lesert, Libby and Ochs through other law enforcement agencies.

The investigation into the attack included searching the Martin Avenue residence, where officers found numerous items that substantiated the victim’s report, according to Lake City police.

Lesert, Libby and Ochs were each placed in the Erie County Prison on $250,000 bond following their arraignments by Greene Township District Judge Susan Strohmeyer on Thursday morning. Watkins is free on $100,000 bail, according to online court records.

Location: Pennsylvania
Writer: Tim Hahn
Source: goerie.com
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