A month-long manhunt that stretched from Virginia's Tidewater to Rhode Island and focused on a series of kidnappings ended early yesterday morning at a house in Virginia Beach when two fugitives released three hostages and surrendered to the FBI.
Harry Robert Creta, 33, wanted in Norfolk in connection with an alleged multimillion-dollar Tidewater drug ring, and Gail Elizabeth Baker, identified as Creta's 23-year-old companion, emerged at 5:40 from the house after a seven-hour telephone negotiating session with FBI agents.
FBI and local police had barricaded the area, surrounded the house and crouched behind their cars with guns drawn while negotiators, including U.S. attorneys and two local lawyers, tried to convince Creta to give himself up.
Creta, whom the FBI said had once vowed never to be taken alive, left three persons -- Phillip and Donna Mirabile and their 3-year-old daughter Tiffany-- unharmed as he emerged from the house with his hands in the air, authorities said.
Creta and Baker, who followed him out of the house, later were taken before a U.S. magistrate, where bond was set at $500,000 and $250,000 respectively on kidnapping charges stemming from the abduction of a young Richmond couple Nov. 18.
On that date, Creta and Baker allegedly abducted a Norfolk man at gunpoint and forced him to drive to Richmond. According to the FBI, the man was able to escape from his car at a shopping mall, but Creta and Baker allegedly abducted two more people -- James D. Hill and Julia A. Grizzard -- and forced them to drive to Providence, R.I., where they were released the next day.
Six days later, a couple matching Creta's and Baker's description kidnapped a man identified as H. Shikodi at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Long Island. Shikodi allegedly was forced to drive to Bordentown, N.J., where he was released.
The same day Shikodi was released in Bordentown, the kidnapers allegedly abducted a woman from Voorhees Township, N.J., and forced her to drive them to Greenbelt, Md., where she was released.
There Creta and Baker allegedly abducted a college student, Clarence E. Knight III, outside the Beltway Plaza Shopping Center, spending the next two days in a Holiday Inn in Glen Burnie. Later they allegedly forced Knight to accompany them to a real estate office in Baltimore where, according to the FBI, they looked at houses in the surrounding area.
During the house hunting, Creta allegedly pulled a gun on two real estate agents and forced them to drive to a motel outside Philadelphia. Creta, Baker and the three kidnaping victims spent the night at a motel, according to authorities. Creta and Baker allegedly bound and gagged Knight and the two real estate agents before disappearing the next morning.
Authorities yesterday declined to say how they tracked Creta and Baker to Virginia Beach.