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Florida Man Convicted For Kidnapping, Torturing Plastic Surgeon In Robbery Attempt

Nkorina and his partner, Justin Boccio, had planned to rob the doctor's house but were scared off by the doorbell camera.

By Megan Carpentier
Handcuffs Gavel G

A federal jury in Miami returned a guilty verdict against the alleged ringleader in a plot to rob a doctors's home by kidnapping and torturing him.

Serge Nkorina, 56, was convicted of conspiring to commit kidnapping and kidnapping on Dec. 7. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison at his hearing on Feb. 15.

Charging documents in the case allege that Nkorina and his associate, Justin Boccio, 35 — who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping in 2019 and received an 11-year sentence — hatched a plot to kidnap local plastic surgeon Nader Haroun Shehata in order to rob him.

Nkorina's wife, with whom he was estranged, had been a patient of the then-61 year-old Shehata.

The two men purchased supplies at Home Depot and rented a storage unit at CubeSmart in Margate, Florida — about 40 miles north of Miami — before they began to surveil Shehata at his Hallandale Beach practice and his Miami-Dade County home. On Jan. 14, 2019, they followed him to a local Walmart and, when he emerged from shopping, they forced him into their rental van at gunpoint, blindfolded him, bound his hands and feet and repeatedly Tased him. (Police were later able to view video of Shehata's abduction on Walmart's security cameras, though it went unnoticed at the time.)

They drove for about an hour, the victim told police, before taking him out of the van and placing him in a small room — later determined to be the rented storage unit. There, they placed him in a rolling chair, tied his hands to the armrest, and removed his blindfold. 

Wearing headlamps and baseball hats to prevent his identification, the two men bean to beat Shehata and burned the top of his hands with a blowtorch as and another hot metal object while demanding money and the access code to the gate and door of his home. Shehata gave them the information, along with how to access $50,000 in cash at the home, though they reportedly continued to torture him.

They then forced Shehata to drink alcohol against his will, blindfolded him again, and put him back in the van where he passed out.

The two men then drove the van to Shehata's house where, at around 2:00 a.m. on Jan. 15, the doorbell security camera showed a man, later identified as Nkorina, approaching the door wearing a baseball cap and a headlamp around his neck. He used his cell phone flashlight to illuminate the keypad on the door — but when a family member of Shehata's heard a noise outside, they turned on the lights and Nkorina fled.

(Boccio later told investigators that they returned to the house "on several occasions" after Jan. 15 but never attempted to gain entry due to the presence of law enforcement or Shehata's family.)

At around 3:45 a.m. on Jan. 15, police were called to the  Cheetah Gentleman’s Club for a "continuously honking car horn." They found the bound Shehata — with burns on his hands and cuts on his face — in the front seat, honking the horn. He told police that he'd woken up, bound in the backseat of his car just a short time before.

Surveillance footage from Shehata's office showed the van Boccio and Nkorina had used to monitor the doctor in the days before the kidnapping and revealed the van's license plate, which was used to track down Boccio. They used that information to obtain Boccio's cell phone records, which showed him calling Nkorina on Jan. 15. Investigators then compared the footage from Shehata's doorbell camera to Nkorina's drivers license and determined it was a match.

On April 1, 2019, officers received a warrant to search Boccio's house. They also interviewed Boccio, who confessed and implicated Nkorina.

A warrant for Nkorina's arrest was issued on April 4, 2019 — but Nkorina had fled to Tenerife, in Spain's Canary Islands, according to the Associated Press. He was eventually extradited to the United States in January 2021, according to the Miami Herald.

In March 2021, Shehata sued CubeSmart and Walmart, according to Courthouse News, claiming that CubeSmart should have had systems in place to keep renters from accessing units after hours and Walmart, given the volume of crime the store sees, should have had more security.

Shehata reportedly passed away in April 2021, the Miami Herald reported.

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