A planned Mexico City tour stop turned into a nightmare for the Spanish electronica quartet Delorean over the weekend.
Delorean was the victim of what police described as a "virtual kidnapping," in which members of the group were held for several days in a hotel while terrified family members were told to pay a large ransom or they'd be harmed. "Virtual kidnapping" is a new form of crime in Mexico, in which the perpetrators play on fears of violence to extract ransoms even when the victims aren't in immediate danger.
The full story is still emerging, but early reports from Spanish newspaper El País (via Spin) suggest an awful ordeal for the group. Band members were staying at the Four Points hotel in Mexico City's popular Colonia Roma district, when a caller claiming to be a member of the brutal Zetas cartel warned the group that a shootout was impending and that they should leave for a new hotel (the Mexican newspaper Diario Cambio de Puebla reports a slightly different version, where the caller claimed to be a Mexican police officer warning of similar violence).
According to reports, the callers then began making threats to band members, cajoling them into withdrawing cash from an ATM, destroying their own cellphones and refraining from calling relatives. The "virtual kidnappers" then contacted band members' families, claiming to have physically kidnapped the group and demanding a ransom amounting to $380,000, leading to an international investigation.