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Police: DeKalb man bound and gagged young girls

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 2:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 10:59 p.m. CDT
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(Provided photo)
Robert D. Gahlbeck, 56, of the 1100 block of Golf Court, DeKalb, has been charged with two counts of kidnapping and two counts of unlawful restraint. He is being held on $300,000 bond.

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb man accused of tying, gagging and photographing two young girls at his home remained in jail Wednesday on $300,000 bond.

Robert D. Gahlbeck, 56, of the 1100 block of Golf Court in DeKalb, was charged with two counts of kidnapping and two counts of unlawful restraint after DeKalb police found photographs, rope and duct tape in his house during a search Tuesday.

The kidnapping charges, which indicate Gahlbeck allegedly confined the girls without parental permission, are typically punishable by as many as 7 years in prison.

According to court documents, DeKalb police learned of the alleged offenses during a specialized interview with an 11-year-old girl at Children’s Advocacy Center on Tuesday. The girl told authorities she went with her friend to her friend’s stepgrandfather’s house.

While the girls were there during the day March 26, Gahlbeck allegedly tied them up with rope and placed duct tape over their mouths. He then wrote the word “help” on the tape. Gahlbeck proceeded to hang the girls by their bound wrists from hooks on his bedroom ceiling before taking pictures of them.

The girls were clothed in the photos, and police do not believe the photographs were posted online, DeKalb Police Cmdr. John Petragallo said.

When police officers searched Gahlbeck’s house, they found the pictures, hooks, rope, tape and other items, according to court records. Gahlbeck told officers he is mentally aroused by pictures of women tied up, records show.

Gahlbeck, who is retired, was appointed a public defender. He is next due in court April 17.

The investigation is continuing to determine whether there are more victims. Petragallo reminded the public that both the alleged victims knew the defendant and were visiting his home with permission.

“It was not a random act,” Petragallo said.

Those with information about the incident should contact DeKalb police at 815-748-8400.

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