• U.S.

Ex-Chicago Cop Allegedly Caught on Tape Planning Grisly Torture

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A disgraced former Chicago police officer was caught on tape planning to kidnap a wealthy target and torture him until he handed over some real estate, federal investigators say.

Steven Mandell and his accomplice, ex-cop Gary Engel,were planning to mutilate the victim’s genitals in a specially built torture chamber, then kill him after he handed over the real estate, according to the October 2012 recordings obtained by investigators, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Prosecutors say that Mandell and Engel were posing as cops when they were arrested in 2012, moments before executing their plan. Federal investigators say that the tapes suggest Mandell was physically aroused by the idea of torture, and he and Engel planned to maim the victim’s genitalia.

“You going to put a little blade there?” he asked, according to the released documents.

Engel replied, “It’s like slicing a banana split. You know what a banana split looks like?”

Mandell allegedly made “ooh” sounds, saying he could “feel it.” He warned Engel to be “conscious of [the victim’s] heart,” in case he died too quickly.

The ex-cop is also being investigated for plotting to kill one of two strip club managers to get control of their property. He left the police force in disgrace in 1983 and was sentenced to death in 1993 for the murder of a trucker, but that conviction was overturned on appeal.

A number of Mandell’s friends and associates, including his father, have either disappeared or been killed. Until he was arrested, he lived with his 82-year old wife, whom he married in 2007, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Engel hanged himself in prison soon after the pair were arrested in 2012.

Mandell denies all charges.

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com