A New York police officer dreamed up plots to kidnap, torture, cook and eat at least 100 women whose photos, names and addresses he pulled from a confidential law enforcement database, authorities said.
Gilberto Valle's fantasies about cannibalising women - in one, he said he hoped to "cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible" - were retrieved in a trail of e-mails, computer files and instant messages in online fetish chat rooms, and authorities said he was arrested on Thursday because he was taking steps to carry them out.
None of the women was harmed, although a prosecutor said some of the women knew Valle and he had stalked at least two of them. Authorities said he had had lunch with one of them.
Valle's estranged wife tipped authorities off to his chilling online activity, leading to his arrest, a law enforcement official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Valle, 28, was held without bail on charges including kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorised use of law enforcement records. US Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman said the steps Valle took to carry out the plot "suggest more than just talk".
One document on Valle's computer was titled "Abducting and Cooking (Victim 1): A Blueprint", according to the criminal complaint. The file also had the woman's birth date and other personal information and a list of "materials needed" - a car, chloroform and rope. "I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus … cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible," Valle allegedly wrote in one exchange in July, the complaint says.
In other online conversations, investigators said, Valle discussed how "tasty" one woman looked. "Her days are numbered," he wrote, according to the complaint.
That woman told the FBI she knew Valle and met him for lunch in July.
Valle, who could face life in prison if convicted, sat quietly in a red T-shirt and jeans at his court appearance, answering one question with "Yes, Your Honour". Public defender Julia Gatto had asked for bail, saying the Valle was only guilty of a "deviant fantasy".