President of Cora breakfast chain kidnapped in blue sedan: police
The kidnapping of Nicholas Tsouflidis, president of popular local breakfast chain Cora, was not connected to organized crime, police said on Friday.
In a statement, the SQ asked for the public's help tracing any witnesses to the kidnapping. Police believe that the motive for the crime was ransom or extortion.
"At the time of the event, at least two men reportedly arrived at the victim's residence in a blue sedan," they said. "The investigation suggests that the victim was abducted in order to obtain money in return and the kidnapping was not linked to organized crime."
Police say they are hoping someone in the area of Dagenais Blvd and Montee Champagnee in Laval near where he was found might have seen the vehicle, or that maybe someone knows who might have done this. The victim told police he did not know the men.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the SQ at 1-800-659-4264.
While the Surete du Quebec did not identify the kidnapped man, representatives of the chain confirmed it was Tsouflidis on Thursday. The night before at around 10:00 p.m., 44-year-old Tsouflidis was forcibly taken from his Mirabel home and was found, bound by duct tape, 18 kilometres away in Laval.
At around 6 a.m. that day, an unnamed witness phoned in to Montreal radio station 98.5 FM to report that a man, then unidentified, had been kidnapped and found wandering out from a roadside ditch, confused.
“I saw that he was bound with duct tape. He was very happy to see us—he kept repeating ‘I was kidnapped, I was kidnapped,’” the witness told 98.5 FM.
The investigation has been put in the hands of the Surete du Quebec, who said the man was taken to hospital as a preventive measure. They would not confirm the identity of the suspect, and would not shed light on the motive.
Tsouflidis is the youngest son of franchise founder Cora Tsouflidou, who opened the first “Chez Cora” snack bar in 1987. The chain now boasts 50 locations in Quebec, and more than 130 across Canada. Nicholas Tsouflidis took over as president in 2008 after holding numerous positions in the restaurant since its inception.
Lucie Normandin, vice-president of the Cora Group, said in an interview that it will be up to police to determine why Tsouflidis was kidnapped.
"Nicholas is fine," she said in an interview, adding she'd just spoken to him. "Like the news said, he was kidnapped and he was released. Someone found him."
Normandin said she had no idea why he would be kidnapped.
Friends said he is resting at home and too shaken up to speak with reporters.
With files from Sidhartha Banerjee of The Canadian Press