As Ariz. Housing Heads South, Kidnappers Move In

Failing housing market leaves homes abandoned for kidnappers to use
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 10, 2009 6:23 AM CDT
Lt. Lauri Burgett of the Phoenix Police Department Kidnapping Unit is worried that abductions are getting so out of hand that they will soon expand beyond the underworld of drug and human trafficking.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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(Newser) – Gangs of kidnappers preying on illegal Mexicans immigrants or drug rivals are turning Phoenix into the kidnap capital of the US, reports the Wall Street Journal. In one raid, 30 shivering, half-naked smuggled immigrants were discovered in an abandoned home. They had been shaken down for thousands of dollars. The kidnappers are helped by the failing Phoenix housing market, which has left thousands of houses empty, giving criminals have their pick of places to stash captives.