Returning to his Kings Point, LI, home after work on the evening of Nov. 12, 1974, Jack Teich turned off his Lincoln — only to notice two headlights reflecting off his garage door.
“I thought I’d left my lights on,” he recalled.
He hadn’t. Two masked men — one brandishing a pistol, the other a sawed-off shotgun — hopped out of a car parked behind his. Someone shouted: “Get over here, or we’re going to blow your head off!”
As Jack, then 39, was shoved into the other vehicle, he became the victim of one of the decade’s most notorious kidnapping cases. The $750,000 ransom — the equivalent of about $4 million today — demanded for his return was, at the time, the highest ever in the US.
Now the granddad of five is speaking about his experience for the first time. He tells his story to The Post and in his book, “Operation Jacknap: A True Story of Kidnapping, Extortion, Ransom, and Rescue” (Bombardier Books), out June 2.
“Before now, I wasn’t emotionally ready to tell my side of the story,” Jack said.
His voice trembled as he remembered the fear of never again seeing his wife, Janet, and their young sons, Marc and Michael. “I honestly thought I was going to be robbed, then killed.”
The kidnappers drove Jack to an apartment in The Bronx. Bandages were placed over his eyes, and he was shackled inside a dark, two-foot-wide closet.
Then began the political rantings and anti-Semitic slurs by his primary tormentor, a radicalized black nationalist whom Jack thought of as “The Keeper.”
The man forced him to make a tape-recorded plea to Janet and his brother, Buddy, asking for $750,000 in cash to ensure his safe return.
“Your money is going to feed hungry poor black people in other lands,” The Keeper railed at his captive. “It’s going to help the Palestinians.”
Janet, meanwhile, had called the police after finding her husband’s abandoned car in the driveway, and the FBI had set up camp in their home. Investigators recorded phone calls the kidnappers made to Janet, but those never lasted long enough to trace.
After three days in the closet, Jack was moved to a bed, still in darkness and tethered by chains.
“During my worst moments . . . thinking good things about my wife and our two little children really gave me hope,” he recalled.
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