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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Get a Hand Foiling a Kidnapping

Editor's note: This is the first in a weekly series about crime in Moscow.

Do kidnappings ever work? That is a question Khadzhibekar Belkharoyev, an Ingush native, might be asking himself after doctors had to fight to save his life following a gunshot in the chest.

Belkharoyev accosted Inna Shpolskaya at about 7 p.m. on Feb. 3 as she parked her Toyota Land Cruiser at her apartment building near Sokolnicheskaya Ploshchad in northern Moscow after picking up her 8-year-old daughter, Polina, from school, police said.

Belkharoyev held a pistol to the girl's head and instructed Shpolskaya to call her husband, businessman Leonid Shpolsky, and tell him they had been kidnapped, police said. He gave Shpolsky one hour to hand over $15,000, or he would kill his wife and daughter.

City Crime Statistics
Feb. 4 - Feb. 10
Theft (total)1,048278
Apartment burglaries21220
Car theft6511
For the Record
Car accidents97
a) killed16
b) injured102
Missing persons58
Bodies discovered62
Source: Moscow police

Shpolsky, who was at a restaurant with a friend and his wife's cousin, Vyacheslav Saakov, asked for three hours. They settled on 1 1/2 hours. The meeting place: an isolated intersection on Malenkovskaya Ulitsa, near the scene of the abduction.

"The call came in around 7:30 p.m. that there was a kidnapping," said Oleg Yelnikov, spokesman for the city police's organized crime unit, or GUBOP. "We hardly had anyone here. Almost everyone had gone home for the evening. But we rounded a group of about four officers and sent them out there."

Not wanting to waste any time, Shpolsky and Saakov collected the money, grabbed a hunting rifle and took off.

Around this time, Belkharoyev had Shpolskaya call the Don-Avto taxi service and order a car to take them to the pick-up spot. When the Citroen sedan arrived, the trio climbed and drove away.

The police officers beat the Citroen to the appointed intersection -- but just barely, Yelnikov said. They had just enough time to give Shpolsky and Saakov instructions on how to handle the exchange before taking off in different directions to hide.

"This was really a first time for us," Yelnikov said. "Usually the negotiations take a lot longer, and you have a lot more time to prepare. We'd never had to organize something so quickly before."

Shpolsky approached the car and handed over the money. Belkharoyev let Shpolskaya and Polina out of the car, which began to pull away.

Police cars immediately pulled out from their hiding spots and blocked the road. Belkharoyev and the taxi driver jumped out of the car and tried to flee.

When a police officer fired a warning shot in the air, Belkharoyev turned around and pointed his pistol at Saakov, police said.

Saakov promptly lifted the hunting rifle and shot Belkharoyev in the chest and the taxi driver, Lyuberets Dzottsoyev, in the forearm.

Belkharoyev remained in the hospital Wednesday, an official at City Hospital No. 20 said.

He has been charged with kidnapping and faces eight to 20 years in prison if convicted. Police are investigating whether Dzottsoyev, who also is a native of Ingushetia, was an accomplice.

Yelnikov said Saakov will probably not be charged, given the shooting was in self-defense and the rifle was registered.

One police investigator even offered up some admiration for Saakov's actions.

"He not only acted lawfully, he acted like a real man," the unidentified investigator was quoted by Kommersant as saying.