Federal jury convicts two men for 2019 armed kidnapping in Naperville

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Two men have been convicted on federal kidnapping charges for conspiring to abduct several victims at gunpoint in 2019 in Naperville, Westchester, and South Holland, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois.

On May 22, 2024, a federal jury convicted Sedgwick Williams, 47, of Chicago, and Tai Hon La, 34, of Beach Park, of participating in the kidnapping conspiracy and attempted kidnapping in South Holland. 

Williams was also convicted on individual kidnapping counts for the Naperville and Westchester incidents, and for falsely impersonating a federal law enforcement officer. La was convicted of illegal firearm possession. 

They face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison but no sentencing date has been scheduled.

The 2019 Naperville kidnapping

Authorities say the first kidnapping took place in Naperville on Oct. 17, 2019, when the defendants posed as law enforcement officers and handcuffed a man outside of his electronics store. They then held the man at gunpoint while they burglarized his shop.

Afterward, the defendants forced the man into a car and took him to a vacant property in Chicago where they assaulted him and extorted his family. According to authorities, the victim required medical treatment at a hospital after the incident.

The kidnapping at Westchester and attempt at South Holland

Less than a month later on Nov. 16, 2019, the defendants carried out a second kidnapping in Westchester, posing as DEA agents, according to officials. 

In this incident, they handcuffed and abducted a man at gunpoint outside his home and forced him inside. They then forced him and another person at the home into the basement. When two other people arrived at the residence, they were also forced into the basement at gunpoint. The defendants then stole money and jewelry before leaving the scene. 

They attempted a third kidnapping on Dec. 11, 2019, in South Holland, but failed as the intended victim alerted authorities. The South Holland police arrived before the defendants could get inside the property.

Others involved in the case

Two others linked to the case had pleaded guilty before the trial. Ivan Ayers, 36, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to participating in the kidnapping conspiracy, and Jonathan Vargas, 38, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to kidnapping the Naperville victim.

The case was assisted by the Naperville Police Department, Westchester Police Department, South Holland Police Department, Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

Image Courtesy: The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois

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