A New York City police officer dreamed up plots to kidnap, torture, cook and eat at least 100 women whose photos, names and addresses he pulled from a confidential law enforcement database, authorities said Thursday.
Gilbert Valle's fantasies about cannibalizing women — in one, he said he hoped to "cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible" — were described in online fetish chat rooms and emails, and authorities said he was arrested because he was taking steps to carry them out.
None of the women were harmed, although a prosecutor said some of the women said they knew Valle and that the six-year veteran had stalked at least two of them at home or work, including once in uniform in a police car in a "very intimidating fashion." Authorities said he had had lunch with one of them.
Valle's estranged wife tipped authorities off to his chilling online activity, leading to his arrest, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing case.
Valle, 28, was held without bail in federal court on charges including kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorized use of law enforcement records. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman called the allegations against him "profoundly disturbing."
One document found on his computer was titled "Abducting and Cooking (Victim 1): A Blueprint," according to the criminal complaint. The file also had the woman's birth date and other personal information and a list of "materials needed" — a car, chloroform and rope.
"I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus ... cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible," Valle allegedly wrote in one exchange in July, the complaint says.
In other online conversations, investigators said, Valle talked about the mechanics of fitting the woman's body into an oven (her legs would have to be bent), said he could make chloroform at home to knock a woman out and discussed how "tasty" one woman looked.
"Her days are numbered," he wrote, according to the complaint.
The woman told the FBI she knew Valle and met him for lunch in July.
Valle, who could face life in prison if convicted, sat quietly in a red T-shirt and jeans at his court appearance, answering one question with "yes, your Honor." No one answered the door to his home Thursday in a quiet, middle-class Queens neighbourhood.
Public defender Julia Gatto had asked for bail, saying the alleged plot was "fantasy in a sexual world." She said it was a deviant fantasy and there was no crossing of the line from fantasy to reality.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman disagreed, saying Valle was arrested because he was too close to carrying out the plots.
A search of Valle's computer found he had created records of at least 100 women with their names, addresses and photos, the complaint says. Some of the information came from his unauthorized use of a restricted law enforcement database, authorities said. He claimed, according to the complaint, that he knew many of them.
'It would be an understatement merely to say Valle's own words and actions were shocking.' —Mary E. Galligan, acting head of FBI's New York office
"The allegations in the complaint really need no description from us," said Mary E. Galligan, acting head of the FBI's New York office. "They speak for themselves. It would be an understatement merely to say Valle's own words and actions were shocking."
There was no immediate response to a message left with the NYPD on Thursday.
The complaint alleges that in February, Valle negotiated to kidnap another woman — Victim 2 — for someone else, writing, "$5,000 and she's all yours."
He told the buyer he was aspiring to be a professional kidnapper, authorities said.
"I think I would rather not get involved in the rape," according to the complaint. "You paid for her. She is all yours, and I don't want to be tempted the next time I abduct a girl."
It says he added: "I will really get off on knocking her out, tying up her hands and bare feet and gagging her. Then she will be stuffed into a large piece of luggage and wheeled out to my van."
Cellphone data revealed that Valle made calls on the block where the woman lives, the complaint says. An FBI agent interviewed the woman, who told them that she didn't know him well and he was never in her home.