False kidnap story net real arrest

On March 1, Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on Wicks Lake Road, where a young man regaled them with a bone-chilling story of how he had been kidnapped, tied to a tree and told to “get straight with God.”

The problem is, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson, the story — with a few key exceptions — was a complete fabrication. It wasn’t until Friday that the first of reportedly several suspects were arrested and the whole story of how a 20-year-old Bremerton man ended up shoeless in rural South Kitsap started to unfold.

According to Wilson, the only true element of the Bremerton man’s story is that he was, in fact, kidnapped and tied to a tree. Wilson said the man was also telling the truth when he said he managed to free himself and walk to a neighbor’s house, where he called police.

The rest of it, however, was a lie, Wilson said, using a less polite term to describe it.

According to the victim, he was approached the evening of Feb. 29 while walking to the AM/PM at the corner of Sixth Street and Naval Avenue in Bremerton. He said he spoke with two black males sitting in a car at the pumps, who told him they would take him somewhere to buy some methamphetamine. The victim said he got into the back seat and the group started driving toward Gorst.

At some point, he told police, the front passenger struck him in the head with his left elbow and the front male passenger grabbed his hands and tried putting nylon wire ties around his wrists. He said that he resisted, but the male managed to get the wire ties around his wrists binding them together.

The victim said they drove for what seemed like four hours, stopping at one other location before finally arriving at the 10500 block of Wicks Lake Road SW.

He said the car’s occupants then dragged him out of the car, up an embankment and back into the woods, where he was tied to the tree with a length of rope. He said the kidnappers then stole his hat, jacket, shoes and wallet, told him to think about God and left him there alone.

The victim said he was able to free his hands from the plastic ties and untie the rope and free himself. He said he then walked to another house on Wicks Lake and asked for help.

Wilson said detectives spent nearly five weeks following up on the information the victim provided, but running into nothing but dead ends. Finally, he continued, deputies got a break on the case and suspected the real perpetrator was a 26-year-old South Kitsap man named Brian Christensen — a man well-known to law enforcement for drug and theft convictions.

Wilson said he couldn’t go into detail about the break that led police to Christensen; the investigation is still open and detectives hope to make a number of other arrests in this case before closing it.

“These people (the victim and Christensen) all run in the same drug culture,” Wilson said. “It all has to do with allegations of theft.”

Christensen was arrested Friday after a prolonged confrontation with police at a Silverdale apartment. In the end, deputies had to kick down a door and taze Christensen in the head to get him to comply. A meth lab and a stolen semi-automatic pistol were later recovered from the residence.

Christensen was arraigned Monday, at which point he pleaded not guilty to first-degree kidnapping.

No court dates have yet been set for Christensen.

Wilson said the Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t yet decided what to do with the victim. He said he could potentially be charged with providing false information for forcing the Sheriff’s Office to “spin its wheels” for so long.

However, Wilson also said it’s not unusual for victims of violent crime to lie to conceal the identity of their attackers. In many cases, he said, victims feel the retribution for talking to police will likely be more severe than the actual crime.

“A lot of people who are seriously injured don’t want to tell us who did it,” Wilson said.

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