Former Police Officer Accused Of Attempting To Abduct, Rob, Kill, and Butcher Landlord, Found Dead In His Cell

Posted on November 8, 2012

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Illinois (The Gaslamp Post) – A former police officer being held on charges of extortion and attempted murder, was found dead in his cell this past Monday night.  Authorities say 61-year-old Gary Engel, formerly of the Willow Springs police department, was found dead in his cell after a routine cell check some time after midnight.

Gary Engel

Officers at the McHenry County Jail said that they found Engel’s body hanging by the neck, from the top bunk of his cell by a bed sheet.  His death is being considered a suicide.

Engel was arrested along with a former Chicago police officer, Steven Mandell (formerly known as Steven Manning) on October 25, 2012, following an FBI investigation.  Authorities say that the two men had planned to kidnap, extort money and real estate from an area landlord, and then kill and dismember him once their demands were met.

Steve Mandell

Authorities said that they had obtained secret video footage of the two during the month long investigation, plotting the abduction.  They were arrested while on their way to a northwest side (Chicago) office that they had obtained, which had been outfitted with a large sink, heavy duty counter, and a shower.

According to the Northwest Herald, Engel and Mandell were planning on posing as police officers and using fraudulent documents, in order to abduct their intended victim.

FBI agents said they found a fake arrest document with the name of the intended victim, as well as a pistol and ammunition, saws, a butcher knife, and zip-ties suitable for restraints.

Engel had been fired from Willow Springs in the 1970’s after a weapons conviction, and was convicted along with Mandell in the early 1990’s of abduction drug dealers.  A judge in Missouri had sentenced Mandell to life in prison and Engel to 90 years.

Steve Mandell (left) and Gary Engel (right) in older mug shots. They’ve been at this a long time.

Another judge overturned their convictions in 2004, citing inadmissible evidence was used in their trials.  Mandell was convicted of killing a mob associate in the mid 1990’s but that conviction was also overturned.

Mandell pleaded not guilty in court this past Tuesday, and is due back before a judge in December.  He is currently being held without bond.

Posted in: Cops Gone Wild