The recovered Mustang the kidnappers used to transport Jack Teich.
Nothing seemed out of place that November night of 1974 when Jack Teich pulled into the driveway of his Long Island home in Kings Point.
As he exited his car, two men accosted him, covered his head and pushed him into the backseat of a waiting car, placing a tarp over his body.
What should have been a peaceful homecoming to wife and sons after a long day of work suddenly turned into a nightmare.
This is how the story of "Operation Jacknap" begins and the pace never lets up as Teich, now 80 and a Westchester resident, recounts those harrowing days of fearing for his own life and the lives of his family, the police and FBI search for the culprits and the years of legal trials that followed.
n November 12, 1974, Jack Teich was a businessman in Long Island, New York, returning home from a long day at work. As he pulled into his driveway in Kings Point that night, his world changed in a matter of seconds. Two masked men, one holding a pistol and the other a shotgun, pulled him out of his car and told him to comply or he would be killed. 34-year-old Jack Teich was kidnapped at gunpoint outside his own home and driven away to an unknown location. The kidnapper in charge called himself ‘The Keeper’ and they wanted cash if Jack was going to stay alive.
In the hours that followed his abduction, Jack’s wife Janet Teich discovered her husband’s car in the driveway with no sign of Jack. She called the police. Within 24 hours the kidnappers made contact with a ransom demand. Their letter said:
In 1974, I was a new FBI agent and the only female agent assigned to the New York Office of the FBI, responsible for the investigation of kidnap cases. On Nov. 13, I came to work prepared to fly to the Boston office on a temporary assignment. However, I was told that I would instead be going to Kings Point in Long Island where a businessman named Jack Teich had been kidnapped at gunpoint the day before. Little did I know then, it would be the largest kidnapping case in America at the time.
My assignment was to remain with Teich’s family to ensure their safety and to develop a trusting and cooperative relationship. When I arrived at the Teich residence, I was astonished when I met Janet Teich, a young woman with two little boys.
On the evening of November 12, 1974, 34-year-old New York businessman Jack Teich was abducted at gunpoint from the driveway of his suburban home in Kings Point, Nassau County.
“You’re a Jew, right?” Teich remembers his kidnappers asking.
“They knew I was a Jew,” he tells The Times of Israel in a Zoom interview. “They knew more than they let on.”
Dubbed “Operation Jacknap” by the FBI, Teich’s case was one of America’s largest kidnapping and ransom cases at the time with a demand for $750,000 — the equivalent of $4 million today.
It was 1974. Jack Teich. Kidnapped at his LI home. The $750,000 ransom (equal to today’s $4 mil) never fully recovered — although now he has. I know Jack Teich. He’s my friend lawyer Barry Slotnick’s friend, and he’s now out with just-published “Operation Jacknap: A True Story of Kidnapping, Extortion, Ransom, and Rescue.”
Why his book now, after so many years?
“I’m not getting younger. I was too emotional before. That was the radicalized ’70s. A year earlier was the John Paul Getty III kidnapping. Nine months before, Patty Hearst.
It was a simple request for directions that took a detour into hell.
Great Neck businessman Jack Teich drove into his driveway on Nov. 12, 1974. A car pulled up behind, and someone yelled, “Excuse me, you know how to get to Northern Boulevard?”
Teich got out of his car to respond.
So did the other driver. He was wearing a ski mask and brandishing a gun.
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!”