In December 2015, Nicholas Kollias and fellow senior Ani Okeke Ewo, both University of Rochester football players, were kidnapped near the New York campus. The two friends were the victims of a case of mistaken identity. A few days before the pair was kidnapped, a drug deal went bad near the apartment that one of them rented. And even though they had nothing to do with the criminal activity, Ewo was mistakenly identified as one of the robbers by a gang. In retaliation, the gang used two female accomplices to trick Ewo into a double date and to bring along Kollias.
Despite his reservations about going off campus to a high-crime area, Kollias decided to tag along and got into a car with the women and Ewo. The pair went to a house that reeked of urine and sat on a sofa. According to Kollias, the lights went off and a group of men rushed into the dark room and 40-hours of hell began.
Kollias went into detail about the assault to one media outlet and stated that he thought it would be the end of his life, but he was going to go out fighting. “I’m not going to close my eyes. I was thinking about my family, parents, and God. I didn’t want to die and give in to these people,” he stated to the media.
When Kollias jumped up to flee the house, he was shot in the leg, which broke his femur. He was then hit in the head with a baseball bat and dragged into the bathroom along with Ewo. Kollias described his torture and stated that the gang jabbed knives under their toes, doused them with flammable liquid, threatened to set them on fire, sexually assaulted them and fired a gun near their heads. All in order to make the pair reveal their debit card PIN numbers.
Forty hours later, one of the captors decided to let them go when a SWAT team entered the house freeing the pair. The gang members arrested were Lydell Strickland, 26, Dennis Perez, 23, Leah Gigliotti, 20, Samantha Hughes, 19, Inalia Rolldan,19, and David Alcaraz-Ubiles.
In December 2016, Strickland, who was believed to be the leader, was sentenced to 155 years in prison after being found guilty on 31 charges, that included assault, gang assault, and robbery. David Alcaraz-Ubiles was found guilty of kidnapping and weapons charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Inalia Rolldan and Ruth Lora, the woman who lured Kollias and Ewo into the trap, were each sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted of kidnapping and weapons charges.