POSTED: 7:51 a.m. HST, Oct 25, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 10:32 a.m. HST, Oct 25, 2012
NEW YORK » A law enforcement official says a police officer's estranged wife alerted New York authorities about her husband, who is now suspected of plotting to kidnap and cook women.
The official says that Gilberto Valle had split from his wife, Kathleen, and that she contacted authorities about disturbing material on his computer.
Gilberto Valle sent numerous emails and other Internet communications about the torture and cannibalism scheme, according to a criminal complaint. He identified and catalogued at least 100 women on his computer, investigators said, but there was no information that anyone was harmed.
"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 a 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.
Valle was to appear in federal court in Manhattan this afternoon to face charges of kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorized use of law enforcement records. The name of his attorney was not immediately available, and no one answered the door to his home in a quiet, middle-class Queens neighborhood.
The official says FBI and internal affairs officers with the NYPD seized Valle's computer and uncovered messages about the plots. The official says the messages were exchanged with people in other countries and were sent on some type of fetish chat room.
The official was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
A search of Valle's computer found he 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 law enforcement database, authorities said. He claimed, according to the complaint, that he knew many of them.
"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 today.
Valle met one potential victim over lunch, authorities said.
The complaint alleges that in February, Valle negotiated to kidnap another woman 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 in March, the complaint says. An FBI agent interviewed the woman, who told them that she didn't know him well and was never in her home.
Valle, 28, lives in Queens. He had been assigned to a Manhattan precinct before his suspension on Wednesday.
His Facebook page cultivated the image of a very different man. Postings were filled with photos of a smiling wife, a baby girl and an English bulldog puppy named Dudley. A Maryland football and Yankees fan, Valle had more than 600 Facebook friends, including dozens of young women.
Valle respected his colleagues on the force, took the sergeant's exam and spoke out against Occupy Wall Street, cop killers and others who broke the law, according to the page. His current photo was a blue line, a sign of mourning for when an officer is killed, and expressed condolences for the family of a Nassau County officer who was shot to death this week.
"Keep Nassau County police in your prayers what a brutal week," he wrote earlier this week.
The page was taken down today.
A man who identified himself as Valle's younger brother but did not give his name told reporters outside the officer's home that he was surprised by the arrest.
"You guys know more than I do," he said.
Associated Press writer Meghan Barr in New York contributed to this report.