It sure seems like extortion is the new black. Today’s target: Cindy Crawford and her family. No, no—don’t jump to any Letterman-like conclusions—Cindy didn’t do anything wrong at all. Over the summer, her nanny played a game of “cops and robbers” with her then 7-year-old daughter, Kaia, and took a photo of Kaia in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, gagged and tied to a chair. The nanny had intended to tape the photo, along with a note that read, “the baby sitter went crazy and tied everyone up and they need your help!” to the front door as a joke. (Um, would this be funny? Not so much.) But instead, Edis Kayalar (above, right), a German fellow she had met at a bar a few months before, found the photo and stole Cindy’s phone number off the nanny’s cell phone. He called her and said that he wanted to return the photo because the fact that the girl was “in revealing clothing, bound to a chair and gagged” supposedly “bothered” him because he was a “good person.”Cindy’s husband, gazillionaire Rande Gerber, went to meet with Kayalar at a bar along with a sheriff. Kayalar said he was returning the photo so it wouldn’t end up online, and while he didn’t ask for money, he kept mentioning that he was broke. Outside the bar, to Gerber alone, he said that “he could get a lot of money from the tabloids for the photograph.” Gerber gave him $1,000 for returning the image.
But, of course, the calls didn’t stop. Kayalar buzzed the couple again, saying that he had another copy, and asked for more money to keep it under wraps. Gerber once again called the police. As they began to investigate Kayalar, they discovered that he was in the U.S. illegally and had him arrested and deported. But Kayalar still didn’t stop. This week, he called Cindy and her husband from Germany demanding $100K. Gerber alerted the authorities. Now Kayalar is facing criminal charges of extortion in the U.S.—the official complaint against him was filed in court yesterday.
This story is so, so messed up. Note to nannies everywhere: Even if you think it’s hilarious, don’t take questionable photos of celebrity kids. It just can’t lead to anything good. [CNN]