The head housekeeper at billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Colorado ranch survived a harrowing experience this week when an armed assailant stormed the gate, inexplicably kidnapped her, then drove her to Wyoming.
The assailant allegedly told the victim he had tried and failed to confront Bloomberg in July and also mentioned his adult daughters by name while holding her captive, according to court documents examined by the Associated Press.
According to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Nicole Eister on Thursday, the alleged perpetrator, Joseph Beecher, arrived at the ranch in a black 1997 Mazda at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday. After exiting his truck to inspect the locked gate, he returned to the vehicle and barreled through it.
Once on the property, he entered a residence, where the supervising housekeeper was busy at work and facing a closet in one of the bedrooms, the affidavit alleged.
Beecher allegedly snuck up behind her, pointed his “machine gun” at her, and threatened to “shoot [her] fucking face off,” the affidavit said.
The assailant apparently abandoned his Mazda at the ranch, then kidnapped the housekeeper and demanded she drive him toward Denver.
According to local outlet 9News, which previously reported on the incident, Beecher had “no known connections” to either the victim or the Bloomberg family.
The assailant and his victim stopped at two gas stations on their drive, before eventually making their way to a motel in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she paid for their room in cash.
The victim later told the FBI that Beecher demanded she sleep in the bed next to him, “with her head on his chest, her arm around his middle, and his leg over his.”
Police were able to track the housekeeper’s truck to the motel, where a fire broke out on the property at approximately 2:30 a.m. the next morning. At that point, because of that “exigent circumstance,” a SWAT team broke into their motel room. They rescued the victim and quickly detained Beecher.
A subsequent security sweep turned up an AR-15 rifle and multiple magazines; Beecher is currently being held without bail.
The motive behind the alleged crime remains unclear. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation declined to provide additional details on the active inquiry.
In a statement, Bloomberg’s spokesperson Ty Trippet said, “We’re deeply grateful to the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Wyoming law enforcement, the F.B.I. and other individuals for their swift and heroic action in this case in ensuring that no lives were lost and that the victim has been rescued and safely returned to her family.”
Beecher may have committed more than one crime on Wednesday. According to the FBI affidavit, he both worked and lived in a hotel near Craig, Colorado, and on the morning of Feb. 2 he was suspected of burglarizing his employer/landlord’s residence after the pair got into an argument.
An AR-15 rifle, an additional firearm, and the accompanying ammunition were stolen. The housekeeper at Bloomberg’s ranch later told the FBI that Beecher had confessed to her about the burglary.
Michael Bloomberg had purchased his ranch in 2020 from private equity billionaire Henry Kravis for $44.8 million, just below the original $46 million asking price, as The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
The 4,600-acre property—known as “Westlands”—features a golf course designed by Greg Norman, a helipad, tennis court, and a 19,000-square-foot main residence, replete with an indoor hot tub and a theater.
According to 9News, the billionaire’s family has been cooperating with investigators.