2007-04-27 / Front Page

Floating Suitcase Spurs Two-State Investigation

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

A suitcase found floating in Jamaica Bay by a Broad Channel resident might well hold crucial evidence in a high-profile home invasion case in Connecticut, local police sources say.

On April 16, three thugs broke into the tony Litchfield County, Connecticut estate of Anne Bass, the Manhattan socialite ex-wife of billionaire investor Sid Bass, where she lived with her long-time boy friend, Julian Lethbridge.

According to published reports, the three men held the couple and a young child for more than 12 hours, demanding $8 million. Published reports in Connecticut newspapers say that the men used a hypodermic needle to inject a blue liquid that the men called "poison" into the two victims. They told the couple that they would give them the anecdote to the poison only if they got the money.

When it became clear that the cash could not be obtained on such short notice, however, the three fled the home in the couple's 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The victims were rushed to the hospital, where they were checked and then released. There apparently was no poison found in either of the victims.

Last Sunday, April 22, Broad Channel resident Jean Johnson found a suitcase floating in the bay. When she and her husband, John, opened it, they reportedly found a gun, knife and three aluminum tubes, each of them about the size of a cigar. Inside of each tube was a syringe, one of them still filled with a blue liquid. Also found in the case, according to published reports in the New York Daily News, were latex gloves, a crowbar, a stun gun and a laminated sheet of paper with telephones numbers on both sides.

While Jean Johnson declined to comment citing a request by the Connecticut State Police, she and her husband talked to Daily News reporters right after they found the case.

Johnson told the reporters that she found the case in a canal nearby her home at about 9:30 in the morning and looked inside. They then found two New York City police officers who were ticketing cars nearby.

The Johnson's told reporters that the police took the gun, but left the other material behind.

After the police left, however, Jean Johnson said, she went onto the Internet and researched the telephone numbers that were on the laminated paper in the case.

She found that they all came back to Anne Bass. When she Googled Anne Bass, she found out about the home invasion and called the 100 Precinct.

Detectives from the Precinct Squad then came and took the entire case and its contents.

They were turned over to the Connecticut State Police, sources say.

Trooper William Tate, a spokesperson for Connecticut State Police, told The Wave on Tuesday that they would not comment on any aspect of the case, except to say that the Jeep Cherokee was recovered in an undisclosed location in New York City on Sunday and was returned to Connecticut.

A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department's Deputy Commissioner for Public Information referred all questions to the Connecticut State Police. Local sources, however say that detectives are investigating how the car and the suitcase got to New York City.

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