NEW PORT RICHEY — Daniel Colby rushed into the Applebee's, yelling for help.
"I've been kidnapped. Call 911," he screamed Saturday afternoon as he ran to hide behind the bar. Two men followed him, kicking and punching.
The hosts yelled for the manager. A waiter pulled Colby away from his attackers. The men fled, manager David Jones said, but first told Applebee's occupants: "We'll be back for you." One of the men held his hand like a gun and pointed it at everyone he passed.
Jones turned to Colby, who was sitting on the ground, inconsolable.
"They've got my girlfriend. They've got my car," Colby said.
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Colby, 27, lives with Alexandria Murphy, 21. Both had drug problems, but they have twice cleaned up together. Now they have been 30 days without oxycodone, Colby said.
Colby and Murphy were at their apartment Saturday when Michael Phillips came over. Phillips, 21, had a room there, mainly for storage. But the couple suspected he was selling drugs, so they asked him to leave.
Phillips arrived with Anthony Norfleet, 48, and started arguing with Colby about a missing gun and money, Colby said.
"They woke my girlfriend up by pulling her out of bed by her hair," Colby said. "They put us in separate rooms and asked what we did with the gun."
Eventually Phillips and Norfleet forced the couple into Colby's car and picked up Marcus Mills, 17, authorities said. They threatened to kill Colby if he didn't ask his father for $5,000.
Colby said the men hit them with fists and phone books and threatened to use razors and battery acid to torture them.
"I thought for sure I was going to die," Colby said. "There was a point where I almost wanted to die. I wanted them to stop hurting me, to stop hurting my girlfriend."
Colby jumped out of the car and ran to Applebee's. Phillips and Norfleet followed, authorities said, while Mills continued attacking Murphy in the car.
Then all three assailants fled with Murphy, forcing her to call Colby's father to demand cash, authorities said. Murphy described the area they were driving in, and deputies quickly surrounded them.
Norfleet, Phillips and Mills were charged with grand theft, kidnapping, possession of drugs and other charges.
Colby was overwhelmed when he was reunited with Murphy.
"I grabbed her and I held her in my arms and we cried," he said.