Victor Peña: Man accused of kidnapping Boston woman sobs in court

BOSTON — A 38-year-old Charlestown man accused of kidnapping a young Boston woman and holding her in his apartment for three days sobbed in court Wednesday as he was ordered to undergo a 20-day mental health evaluation.

The 23-year-old woman disappeared Saturday night after a night out with friends and was found by police in a Charlestown apartment, nearly a mile from where she was last seen by her friends.

Boston Police arrested Peña after an extensive investigation, which led then to his apartment in a Boston Housing Authority complex in Bunker HIll.

He has been charged with kidnapping, but additional charges are likely to follow, according to Boston 25 News Security Analyst Dan Linskey.

In court Wednesday, Peña broke down in tears as he listened to an interpreter explain the charges being read.

Meanwhile, an ex-girlfriend of Pena's who spoke with Boston 25 News on Wednesday said he has a history of threatening women.

Maybely Centeno said she filed a restraining order against Pena in 2013 claiming physical and verbal abuse. She said she wasn't surprised to learn Pena was the main suspect in the recent kidnapping in Boston.

"It’s Victor, It’s Victor Pena. I know this guy, he take this woman," Centeno said.

Centeno said she dated Pena for six months in 2012. She claims Pena held her against her will inside her apartment.

"He locked the door with a key and he closed the door inside with a key and later he put in his pocket or whatever," she said.

Centeno claims Pena verbally and physically abused her.

"With the right hand, punched me in the arm, and say, 'What’s wrong with you?'" Centeno said.

But the final straw, she said, was a chilling threat.

"'How do you want to die? Slow? Or fast?,'" Centeno said, recounting what she claims Pena said to her.

In court Wednesday, a psychiatrist testified Pena claimed he heard voices and that he sometimes took anti-psychotic medication.

"It would appear that he does have some psychotic symptoms although it’s also quite possible that he’s exaggerating some of those symptoms," said Dr. Jodie Shapiro,a psychiatrist.

Centeno said Pena seemed to have a Jekyll and Hyde persona. She's relieved that his alleged victim was rescued before anything worse happened.

"Thank you, Jesus, that she got alive and the police and everybody take the house and is fine," Centeno said.

On Tuesday, a man who recorded police taking Pena into custody outside his apartment said he recognized Pena from surveillance photos released to the public earlier in the day.

"I seen his face. I was right up on him. My camera's not that good, but I seen his face," said Dexter White.

Neighbors say Peña has lived in the Bunker Hill housing development for at least five years.

Sources told Boston 25 News that several law enforcement agencies are familiar with Pena. In June, he was arrested at Twin River casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, for cheating.

According to police, Peña was caught wedging blank rewards member cards into slot machines and stealing the rewards points accrued by other players.

"All the cards were altered in the same manner," according to the affidavit written by R.I. State Police Detective Andrew Emerson. "They were cut short and with a small hole punched in the corner, with a small black string tied around it, and the cardholder name and account number were scratched off the face of the cards."

The affadavit, obtained by WPRI, indicates the cards were cut short so they couldn't be seen when they were put in the video lottery terminal (VLT).

"With the altered card inserted into the machine, any unsuspecting patron playing that machine would be generating rewards points that would be transferred onto the hidden rewards card," Emerson wrote. "These rewards points are transferred into cash or cash equivalent for goods, services, or additional gameplay within the Twin River Casino."

Police say all the cards they found were linked to Victor Peña, of Charlestown. According to the affadavit, police were able to see Peña on surveillance video watching others play the terminals with his blank cards inserted.

Peña was released on $2,000 bail and banned from Twin River.

He has been held for a 20-day mental health evaluation before his next court appearance in Boston.

Boston Police released a statement Wednesday before Peña's arraignment saying the second man they were seeking -- seen on surveillance video in front of the victim before she was kidnapped -- turned himself in and they now consider him a witness in the investigation.

MORE: Man charged with kidnapping after missing woman found alive in Charlestown