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Fayette County fugitive Victor Tarpley captured in Buffalo

Mary Pickels
| Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 5:36 a.m.

A Fayette County fugitive who disappeared during his autumn trial and allegedly attacked a man living with his child's mother in December was apprehended on Thursday in Buffalo.

A bench warrant had been issued for Victor Maurice Tarpley, 32, formerly of Uniontown, when he failed to return to court in October for his trial on kidnapping charges.

Tarpley was located in the Buffalo area by Western Pennsylvania and Buffalo area fugitive apprehension units and the state police.

Calls to the Buffalo Police Department to determine how and where Tarpley was were not returned on Friday.

He most recently was sought for an incident on Dec. 30 in which he allegedly assaulted Matt Brumley, 21, of Redstone Township.

According to police, Brumley said Tarpley came to the residence at 8:30 a.m. to discuss custody and visitation with Kathy Bass, 23. Bass is the mother of Tarpley's 3-year-old child, police said. Tarpley asked where Brumley was and searched the home, finding him hiding in a bedroom.

Brumley said Tarpley assaulted him with a small pipe. The pipe was not found, police said.

Brumley suffered multiple contusions, a cut to his head and a broken nose, according to police.

A relative transported him to Uniontown Hospital for treatment.

Tarpley faces a charge of simple assault in that incident.

Tarpley and Bass were charged in 2010 with kidnapping Caleb Wood of Brownsville at gunpoint in Menallen in August of that year, robbing him of $120 and trying to collect ransom money for his release.

After jury selection, Tarpley did not return to his trial, which continued in his absence.

Wood testified that he got into Bass' car on the night of Aug. 24, 2010. He thought they were going to a hotel room to drink and have sex.

Instead, he testified, Bass stopped the car on a road unfamiliar to him, got out and went to the vehicle's trunk, Wood testified. He said Tarpley opened the car door, pointed a gun at him and said, "You already know, don't move."

Wood said he was blindfolded and forced to call friends and relatives to demand cash for his safe return. When the ransom demands failed, his captors made him ride with them to a gas station.

A high-speed chase ensued after state troopers located the alleged kidnappers' vehicle near Miller Farm Road in Menallen.

Court testimony showed Wood talked his alleged kidnappers into letting him go and he jumped from the car.

Despite his absence, a jury found Tarpley guilty of kidnapping for ransom, robbery, unlawful restraint, theft, terroristic threats, illegal possession of a firearm and fleeing or attempting to elude police.

Bass had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft, conspiracy to commit simple assault and conspiracy to commit terroristic threats in the same case.

She was sentenced to serve 23 months of intermediate punishment, including 11 1/2 months under house arrest, for that case and an unrelated traffic accident in 2010, when her vehicle struck a bicyclist and she drove away.

Intermediate punishment is a form of probation in which a defendant avoids jail but must abide by court-ordered sanctions.

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