CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — A Berkeley County man is facing a list of charges for allegedly kidnapping an elderly woman, holding her against her will for six days and forcing her to transfer money out of her bank accounts.
State Police arrested Alvaro Vilela, 49, of Martinsburg after troopers said they found the victim, a 74-year old woman from Harpers Ferry, held captive in his home on Tuesday.
The victim said Vilela had forced his way into her home and beaten her before tying her up and kidnapping her. For almost a week, she was forced to make monetary transactions from his Martinsburg home.
A friend of the victim first notified State Police on Friday, Jan. 24 to report her concerns about her safety because the woman had not been seen or heard from for several days.
During the next few days, troopers said other friends of the victim started receiving brief and “cryptic” phone calls and e-mails from the woman.
Trooper C.J. Hill received a similar call on Tuesday, Jan. 28 and, when he tried to call the woman back, said he could not do so because the phone was out of service. After that, financial institutions started notifying State Police of the victim’s financial transfers which were considered out of character.
Hill reportedly used phone records to track the phone the victim was using to Vilela’s home in Martinsburg where the victim was found.
She was being treated for injuries sustained while in Vilela’s custody.
Vilela was charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, violent crimes against the elderly, extortion and financial exploitation of the elderly.