Crime

Tech Entrepreneur Sought in Connection With N.J. Kidnapping Case

Tech Entrepreneur Sought in Connection With N.J. Kidnapping Case
Image credit: Michael Streko | Twitter
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The co-founder of social-media marketing firm KnowEm is being sought by police in New Jersey after he disappeared with his wife and son, possibly to fulfill a Kickstarter-backed project to travel the country in an RV.

Michael Streko and his wife Amy don't have custody of their 8-year-old son, Everett, who was reported missing by his grandmother on Friday in Green Brook, N.J. According to N.J. Advanced Media, the grandmother is Everett's legal guardian, though it isn't clear why the Strekos lost custody.

In an odd twist, the kidnapping could be related to a Kickstarter campaign the Strekos launched to fund a roadtrip to meet other entrepreneurs across the country. Though the campaign page was removed from Kickstarter, a ReportCrowd screenshot shows the couple planned to visit several cities, interview people for a video web series and then ask whomever they met where they should go next. 

"So we decided to contact some people and see if they would like to be on the show," the Strekos wrote. "But the ideas kept on coming and we decided to make the webseries even more interactive, letting our viewers vote and decide where we go next, who we have on the show or what we go and see. All while filming and live streaming."

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Stops were planned in New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, according to a video posted to support the Kickstarter campaign. Among the guests set up for interviews were entrepreneur Peter Shankman and television journalist and author Tamsen Fadal, though it's unclear whether either ever knew they would be contacted by Streko, or that they even knew him.

They also planned to sell porkroll sandwiches out of the RV to make money, according to the page. The "On the Road With the Strekos" campaign apparently received just $557 of its $25,000 goal when it expired last month.

According to his LinkedIn page, Streko has been a marketing consultant recently after more than five years as co-founder and in various roles at KnowEm, which focuses on brand-jacking and social-media identity theft. Prior to KnowEm, worked in search marketing for KGM Direct and ACTickets.com.

More recently, Streko founded DigitalCamper.com, a web-marketing firm for the RV market. The company's web page claims a summer tour around the country is starting to market the site. 

Police in Somerset County, N.J., are looking for Streko's RV, a 1997 white Winnebago with NJ registration X72-FNK. Police want anyone with knowledge of the Strekos to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor's Major Crime Unit at 908-231-7100.

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