Lockport, New York: Robert Brandel, a North Tonawanda man’s elaborate scheme to avoid paying out thousands of dollars in a Super Bowl bet unraveled this week, shortly after troopers found him tied up with duct tape inside his own truck at a Tops parking lot.
Police found Robert Brandel, 60, around 2:40 p.m. on Feb. 27 inside his blue Ford F-150 truck on the 3900 block of Lockport-Olcott Road in Newfane.
He was in the backseat with a rope tied around his neck, the other end tied to the head rest. Duct tape was wrapped around his hands and ankles. He then spun a bizarre tale for troopers, who began an abduction and robbery investigation.
Brandel told police that he picked up two men in his truck on Feb. 25 who had placed bets on a Super Bowl pool. The men brandished a pistol and stole $16,000 in cash he had won from the payout of the pool, Brandel told troopers.
Brandel claimed the pair made him drive around various places in Western New York against his will, eventually leaving him tied up in a Tops parking lot, according to New York State Police.
But an investigation quickly revealed that Brandel made the whole thing up, police said.
In fact, Brandel had run a $50,000 payout Super Bowl pool in which he made up names in some of the squares, hoping to win and take most of the winnings. But it didn’t play out as planned, and the man was on the hook for most of the $50,000, police said.
So Brandel was arrested and charged.
He’s facing charges including first-degree scheme to defraud, a felony, and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor. He’s due in Town of Newfane Court in March, police said.