Until this week, Gilberto Valle was just another New York cop, who lived in suburban Queens with his wife and young child.
He’d been with the force for six years. “He wanted to shoot to the top,” according to a long-standing acquaintance who spoke to the New York’s Daily News.
But now the 28-year-old stands accused of possessing much more sinister ambitions which have earned him the grisly tag of “cannibal cop”.
A complaint filed in a city court alleges that, while outwardly vowing to protect the people of New York, Valle acting in concert with a handful of co-conspirators, was engineering a depraved plot to kidnap, rape, cook and eat a succession of unsuspecting women.
“I love that she is asleep right now not having a clue of what we have planned,” he is accused of telling an associate in one instance, adding: “She does look tasty, doesn’t she?”
Authorities first caught wind of the plans when Valle’s wife reportedly stumbled upon incriminating records on his computer. She is said to have alerted the FBI last month, setting off an investigation that resulted in the cop’s detention on Thursday.
Among the ghoulish clues allegedly uncovered by a search of Valle’s machine was a database of targets. The defendant “had created files pertaining to at least 100 women”, at least 10 of whom “confirmed... that Valle is known to them”, according to the complaint. He is alleged to have stalked at least two of the women, at least once in uniform in his police car. Valle – an avid Yankees fan, according to the New York Post – is also accused of accessing national police records for information on at least one target.
In one case, he is said to have lunched with his intended prey, referred to in the complaint as Victim-1. Discussing her with a co-conspirator via internet messages, Valle is alleged to have said he planned to “kidnap her right out of her own home”. When asked about the size of his oven, he is recorded as responding: “Big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs.”
Officials claim he had created a document entitled “Abducting and Cooking [Victim-1]: a Blueprint”, listing the target’s “name, date of birth, height, weight and bra size”.
In a section labelled “Materials Needed” he is alleged to have written: “Car (I have it)... Chloroform (refer to website for directions)... Rope (strongest kind to tie her up).” While plotting, he is also alleged to have met Victim-1 for lunch at a restaurant in July.
In the case of Victim-2, Valle is alleged to have possessed more commercial motives. “$5,000 and she is all yours,” he is alleged to have said, adding: “It is going to be so hard to restrain myself... but I am aspiring to be a professional kidnapper.”
On Thursday, Valle’s lawyer, Julia Gatto, attempted to secure bail by saying that he was only guilty of a “deviant fantasy”. “There’s no actual crossing the line from fantasy to reality,” she said.
The plea was turned down by Judge Henry Pitman, who called the charges “profoundly disturbing”. Valle’s actions, the judge said, “suggest more than just talk”. Prosecutors, meanwhile, said the investigation was ongoing, suggesting the possibility of further arrests.