Police 'hit man' was offered NASCAR items to kill a witness
Share with others:
Murder for hire is not necessarily about money, at least in some quarters.
A drug-dealing suspect and his son tried to hire a hit man who would kill for NASCAR memorabilia instead of cash, Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said yesterday.
He said the father intended to murder a witness testifying against him, but his plot was exposed by an undercover state police detective pretending to be the hit man.
Mr. Higgins identified the suspects as Allen Bridges, 53, and his son, Jacob, 18, both of Everett, Bedford County. They have been charged with solicitation of murder, conspiracy and retaliation against a witness. Both were in jail, awaiting a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
The "large collection" of NASCAR items that Allen Bridges offered in return for the murder did not impress Mr. Higgins any more than the scheme did.
"It looked like a bunch of junk," Mr. Higgins said.
State police said the case unfolded in this way:
Allen Bridges, already in the Bedford County Jail on a charge of selling fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, began asking other inmates in April for a lead on a hit man. He wanted to kill someone who would testify against him.
"I want him fed to the pigs," Allen Bridges said.
Snitches abound in jail. They want to trade information for a lesser sentence or more privileges. An inmate alerted jail staff, who took the information to Mr. Higgins. By May, state police Detective Steve Shelley was on the case, posing as a killer for hire.
Word about the "hit man" circulated back to Allen Bridges. From the jail phone, he called who he thought was his hired killer. Mr. Bridges said his son would provide the down payment for the murder.
Detective Shelley drove to Everett on May 21 for his meeting with the son. Jacob Bridges arrived on a bicycle.
"Do you know what this is about?" the undercover officer asked.
"No, not really. Just that it is about helping my dad," Jacob Bridges said.
At his house, he handed the officer "a bulging black trash bag" containing part of his father's NASCAR collection.
Mr. Bridges said he thought he was dealing with a Mafia member and made two cutting motions across his throat with his right hand.
The police investigation concluded this week with the arrest of Jacob Bridges, who was being held yesterday on $200,000 bail. His father's bail, which had been $75,000 in the drug case, rose to $500,000.
The NASCAR collection that Allen Bridges thought so valuable was seized as evidence.
Mr. Bridges also stands a good chance of losing his freedom.
"He will spend a substantial portion of his life behind bars, and sadly he has brought his son down with him," Mr. Higgins said.
First Published July 19, 2008 12:00 am