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Florida man held woman for ransom in motel after learning she was transgender, police say

Joshua Debarge Lucas held transgender woman hostage saturn motel miami
Miami Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation; Brent Moore/Flickr

The man claimed to be a member of an Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group

Police in Miami arrested a man they say held a woman for ransom at gunpoint in a motel room after learning the woman is transgender, according to local ABC affiliate WPLG.

Joshua Debarge Lucas, 34, was taken into custody on Friday for the alleged kidnapping that took place on January 14 at the Saturn Motel in Miami’s MiMo district. Lucas grew “upset” following the completion of a sex act when he learned the victim was transgender, according to the police report seen by WPLG.

Lucas allegedly called a friend and together they held the victim at gunpoint, forcing her to send a text message to a friend that read “text me” around 5:45 p.m. When the friend responded with a FaceTime call, Lucas reportedly went on the phone’s camera and demanded $200 or they would hurt the victim. He reportedly told the friend he felt “disrespected” by the victim and further expressed concern that a sexual encounter with a trans woman would violate his beliefs as a Black Hebrew Israelite, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group.

Police claim Lucas told the victim’s friend that the pair were “high” at the time of the sex act and only became angry after he sobered up. Lucas’s unidentified friend reportedly was seen on screen flashing a gun and participating in the call demanding a ransom.

The victim’s friend recorded the call, which they shared with police immediately after the call ended. Police quickly responded to the motel where they found the victim, but not Lucas and his accomplice who had fled the scene.

Lucas was arrested without incident at his home on Friday following an investigation. He told arresting officers the incident was a misunderstanding, that he only demanded $20 for an Uber, and that the victim’s friend had misheard his request.

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