State troopers say Westmoreland man kidnapped, assaulted another man before trying to rob him

RILLTON, Pa. — A Westmoreland County man is facing a long list of charges after police say he kidnapped, assaulted, and attempted to rob another man in September 2020.

Danny Joe Lambert turned himself in for an arraignment hearing Thursday afternoon for the charges he now faces for that incident.

Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek was at that hearing, and asked if Lambert had any comment.

“I have to go in there and take care of this. That’s what I have to say,” Lambert said. “Wow.”

Police asked Channel 11 to not show Lambert’s face on camera.

Troopers say Lambert and another man kidnapped Tyler Hope as he was walking down the street from the Rillton VFW on Sept. 30, 2020. Lambert and the other man, who were both wearing masks, jumped out of an SUV and threw Hope inside.

“While they were in the SUV they were sitting on him and continuing to punch him,” said Trooper Steve Limani.

Troopers said the two men were asking Hope for his Pandemic Unemployment Assistance card, which he didn’t have.

They took him to the basement of a home in Herminie, which was abandoned at the time.

“They had hog-tied him with some extension cords and some nylon rope,” Limani added.

Court documents say Hope told police the men threatened to cut his fingers off and bury him alive in the coal cellar.

While in the basement, police say Hope recognized Lambert’s voice.

“Probably the fact that he knew him was the reason why he ended up being let go,” Limani said.

Hope was afraid of retaliation and, because of broken ribs and needing surgery for injuries to his arm, troopers said he didn’t report the incident immediately that night.

Police say DNA testing confirmed Lambert’s involvement, which they said is why it took more than three years before charges were filed.

They don’t believe Lambert and the other man specifically targeted Hope that night.

“If he didn’t know his voice, I would like to think they would have left him in that basement,” Limani said.

If you have any information about the incident or can help police identify the second man involved, you’re asked to give them a call.

Lambert is out of jail on a $50,000 unsecured bond. He is due back in court on March 4.

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