Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I plead the Fifth ...

SANTA FE, N.M. (Bloomberg News) -- Academy Award-winning actor Gene Hackman has gone missing, and police believe he may have been abducted by a Texas-based religious cult as part of an escalating feud with Lowe's Companies Inc. Hackman has done voiceover work for many of the home improvement retailer's television and radio ads.

Police say that a note found in the actor and novelist's Santa Fe home read simply: "We have Mr. Hackman. He will be returned once the spare bedroom is finished and we have received adequate monetary compensation." No fingerprints were found on the stationery, but police said there was a large amount of fur in the home's entryway. The Hackman family does not own any pets. 

Police believe the spare bedroom in question is at a place dubbed "the ayatollah compound," the home of canine cult leader Ayatollah Mugsy. Sgt. Mike Davis of the Santa Fe Police Department said that officers are working to obtain a search warrant but that they aren't sure of the ayatollah's street address. 

"We've heard reports that he lives in a secret lair on a private island off the West Coast, with a mountain carved in the image of his face," Davis said. "But that's all unconfirmed. The truth is, we don't know where to find this pug, or Mr. Hackman."

Representatives of the ayatollah's Pug Life Ministries have thus far refused to meet with police, asserting that they have sovereignty over their own affairs and are not bound by the laws of humans. The ministry last week launched a boycott of Lowe's, alleging shoddy service by carpet-installation workers affiliated with the store. 

Hackman, 80, said in 2008 that he had retired from acting. He has written three novels since 1999. 

Tom Gregory, a psychiatrist in Santa Fe, said that if the two-time Oscar winner had, indeed, been abducted by Ayatollah Mugsy, there was a very real danger of Stockholm Syndrome setting in. 

"This is a syndrome in which the kidnapped grow fond of their attackers -- something that I would consider highly likely with such a charismatic figure as the ayatollah," he said.

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