The mother of Brazil international Taison was kidnapped on Monday by an armed gang but released within hours after police located their hideout.
Security camera footage showed Rosangela Freda being lured to the security gates in front of her home in Pelotas, southern Brazil, by a man delivering flowers and bundled into a car.
Taison, who was a member of the Selecao World Cup squad that exited following a 2-1 defeat in the quarter-finals to Belgium, plays for the Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk.
Freda was kidnapped in the neighbourhood of Navegantes and taken to a house in Monte Bonito on the outskirts of the city, but was found safe just an hour later.
“She is well. Apart from the fright, there is no injury,” said detective Rafael Lopes, adding that the gang did not have time to issue a ransom demand.
Lopes said police had found the gang’s hideout after officers spotted the getaway vehicle, a white Fiat Siena, from a description broadcast on police radio.
“We closed the circle around the place where the car had been seen,” he said. “In less than an hour we found where she was being held and released the victim.”
When police approached the house, one man escaped and four were arrested. The man who escaped was recognised by one officer as a known local criminal with a record for homicide and drug crimes.
Two others also had criminal records. Police found a .44 revolver, a shotgun, cocaine and marijuana in the house.
Freda was found with her hands tied behind her back in a garage at the back of the property.
Paulo Storani, a former police captain and security specialist in Rio, said kidnapping had largely died out in major Brazilian cities because of improved police methods and security cameras, though “lightning kidnaps”, where crooks lead a victim to a cashpoint, still occurred.
In a television interview last year, Taison cried as he paid tribute to the sacrifices his mother, a maid, and father, a labourer, had made for him.
He began his career at Progresso, a Pelotas amateur team. In June, he shared on Instagram a photograph from Sochi of him hugging his mother.
“I’ll do anything to see a smile on your face, Mum, because you always did everything for my happiness,” he wrote.
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