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Accused Brooklyn Mirage kidnappers to walk after abducted doctor stops cooperating with prosecutors

Collage of Michael Bautista and one of his alleged kidnappers.
Collage of Michael Bautista and one of his alleged kidnappers.

State prosecutors in Connecticut have moved to drop the case against two Bronx men who were accused of kidnapping a doctor outside a Brooklyn nightclub because the alleged victim no longer wanted to work with the authorities.

The defendants — Anthony Benjamin, 42; and Steve Daley, 50 — had been charged in Stamford Superior Court with grabbing 32-year-old Michael Bautista outside the Brooklyn Mirage venue last summer and forcing him to go on a wild spending spree across the Big Apple.

But Bautista — an ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon from Norwalk, Connecticut — decided that he “does not want to cooperate” with prosecutors, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes said during a February hearing, according to The Hour.

State prosecutors in Connecticut have dropped the charges against Anthony Benjamin, who was accused of kidnapping a doctor outside the Brooklyn Mirage last summer. Norwalk Police Dept
State prosecutors in Connecticut have dropped the charges against Anthony Benjamin, who was accused of kidnapping a doctor outside the Brooklyn Mirage last summer. Norwalk Police Dept
Authorities also dropped the charges against Steve Daley, Benjamin’s accomplice who allegedly drove them up to the Connecticut hospital where the doctor worked.
Authorities also dropped the charges against Steve Daley, Benjamin’s accomplice who allegedly drove them up to the Connecticut hospital where the doctor worked.

Being as Bautista’s testimony was expected to make up the bulk of the evidence, prosecutors could not continue without him, the local newspaper reported.

The charges against Daley were dropped Feb. 26, the report said. The charges against Benjamin will be dropped at his next court appearance, scheduled for April 15.

Prosecutors’ decision not to pursue a criminal case against the two men could be a fittingly bizarre ending to the wild case.

Previously, Bautista claimed the pair ensnared him after a July 21 show at the Brooklyn Mirage, an often-troubled dance club in East Williamsburg known as a target for criminals looking to take advantage of drunk or otherwise inebriated people wandering around the neighborhood.

Bautista allegedly stopped cooperating with authorities, which has killed the case, prosecutors said. Norwalk Hospital
Bautista allegedly stopped cooperating with authorities, which has killed the case, prosecutors said. Norwalk Hospital
Anthony Benjamin, 42, was last seen in court on November 7. He is in Rikers Island awaiting a court date for the larceny charges. Douglas Healey
Anthony Benjamin, 42, was last seen in court on November 7. He is in Rikers Island awaiting a court date for the larceny charges. Douglas Healey

Daley was allegedly driving the taxi Bautista leapt into, and Benjamin was already lounging in the backseat, according to a Norwalk Police report.

The two allegedly refused to bring the hapless doctor back to his car.

Dr. Michael Bautista claimed he played along with his alleged kidnappers until he could get away. rfaraino
Dr. Michael Bautista claimed he played along with his alleged kidnappers until he could get away. rfaraino

Instead, they ferried him on a wild weekend spending spree through the Bronx in which Benjamin forced Bautista to buy him clothes and shoes, pay for his haircut at a barber shop and a night out at a strip club, according to a police report obtained by The Hour.

Bautista also shelled out cash for pizza and smoothies, law enforcement sources previously told The Post.

Benjamin — who claimed he had a handgun on him the whole time — also allegedly made Bautista take out money from ATMs that Benjamin later pocketed and handed out to his friends, the report said.

The alleged kidnapping happened outside the Brooklyn Mirage, where two 27-year-olds vanished then turned up dead over the summer. NY Post
The alleged kidnapping happened outside the Brooklyn Mirage, where two 27-year-olds vanished then turned up dead over the summer. NY Post

Daley then allegedly drove the two to the Connecticut hospital in which Bautista worked — and that’s where cops collared the two accused kidnappers on July 23.

The pair were originally held on massive bonds — $1 million for Benjamin and $250,000 for Daley.

But a judge cut that to promises-to-appear after a prosecutor and a public defender “raised concerns about the evidence in the case,” The Hour said.

“Standing here today, without any other independent corroboration of the complaining witness’ statement of what occurred over the weekend, the state does not feel right asking for a high bond,” Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning said at Benjamin’s arraignment.

It’s not clear why Bautista decided to stop cooperating. Douglas Healey
It’s not clear why Bautista decided to stop cooperating. Douglas Healey

Prosecutors’ decision might be a weight off Daley’s back.

But it’s unlikely to make much difference to Benjamin — he’s still locked up on Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a wallet, driver’s license and iPhone from a victim in Midtown West last fall, according to jail records.