FBI Surveillance Video Captures Alleged Torture Chamber

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    Jurors Watched Shocking Video of Steve Mandell Plotting an Alleged Shceme to Lure, Torture and Kill a Suburban Businessman (Published Friday, Feb. 14, 2014)

    Federal prosecutors played a chilling set of videotapes Friday taken from inside an alleged torture chamber at the trial of a former Chicago police officer.

    Steven Mandell, 62, is accused of plotting to abduct and extort money from businessman Steve Campbell.

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    The FBI surveillance tapes were recorded by a secret camera inside a fake business at 5803 West Devon Ave.

    On the tapes, Mandell and his alleged accomplice Gary Engel discuss everything from how a fake warrant would be worded, to the kinds of bags that would be used to collect Campbell's personal belongings.

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    According to the tapes, Engle's advice was to "use the new bags ... don't be cheap ... don't be South Side."

    Mandell can be heard instructing Engle on where to hang the plastic sheeting that would protect the building's exposed, cinder block walls from blood splatter. He also cautions Engle to wear safety glasses saying, "the saw will be flinging stuff all over the place."

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    Federal authorities say former officers hatched a plan to kidnap, extort and torture a Chicago businessman. Phil Rogers reports. (Published Friday, Oct. 26, 2012)

    Mandell can also be heard instructing Engle on the psychological torture keeping their victim in the dark would inflict. He also reminded him, "it's either his last supper or our last supper."

    On the FBI video, Mandell can be seen testing out the wheelchair they planned to zip-tie Campbell to during the torture.

    All of the discussions, which take place around a simple wooden table and a card table in the otherwise empty storefront space, are profanity-laden but matter-of-fact. Even discussions about mutilating their intended victim's genitals seemed like an afterthought to the planning of the whole kidnapping and extortion scheme.

    While the tapes were being played for the jury, Mandell turned to watch it on a big screen projection rather than view it on the small monitors at the defense table.

    Before leaving the space for the office of FBI informant George Michael, the video shows Mandell asking Engle for help with adjusting the collar of his shirt before telling him, "let's roll."