WALDO, WI — A Domino’s Pizza delivery driver served up a side of police intervention when he called 911 and thwarted a Wisconsin man’s misguided plan to hold his ex-girlfriend captive in a bid to win back her affection.
According to a criminal complaint, Dean Hoffman beat, tied up, and refused to let his ex leave her home. The woman’s saving grace turned out to be Hoffman’s decision to order pizza.
When Joey Grundl arrived with Hoffman’s pie, he “gave him his pizza, and noticed behind him was his girlfriend,” the 24-year-old deliveryman told Fox6. “She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words: ‘Call the police.’” Grundl left and immediately contacted 911.
Hoffman, 55, and his 57-year-old ex first began seeing each other in 2016, and they lived together until they split this past August, states the complaint, which details how the hostage situation began at around 1 P.M. on September 26.
Hoffman allegedly went to the woman’s new residence and entered without knocking. She demanded he leave and attempted to call the cops. Hoffman smacked away the phone and tried to drag her upstairs. In the process, reads the complaint, he tore her shirt and pulled at her hair. When the woman kneed Hoffman in the groin, he delivered a punch that gave her a bloody nose and black eye.
Hoffman then locked himself and his ex in her bathroom for a half an hour before taking her to the bedroom, where he bound her feet and hands with a vacuum cleaner cord. To make sure “nobody would be able to hear her,” states the complaint, he forced a towel into her mouth, causing the victim to fear she was going to suffocate to death after she began having trouble breathing.
Hoffman finally untied his ex-girlfriend, but he kept her captive. “If you love me, you will let me go,” the woman later told police she begged. Hoffman’s response, she said: “You know I can’t do that.”
The woman also told police how she feared he had a murder-suicide in mind when Hoffman, who owns a .22 -caliber pistol, said he ”should have brought his gun in from the car so that he could shoot both of them.”
To ensure nobody would help his hostage, Hoffman texted the woman’s kids from her phone and, posing as his victim, told them to stay away because she wasn’t feeling well. He then made the mistake that led to the end of the ordeal — phoning for food.
After the delivery driver called for help, and officers from the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department arrived to the woman’s home, Hoffman refused them entry as she screamed “please come in” and “help me.”
Hoffman eventually relented to police. He admitted he and his ex-girlfriend were fighting and he’d punched her “in the heat of the moment.” The woman said she “truly believed [he] was going to kill her that night.”
“Sometimes it’s best just to pay attention to what’s going on,” pizza deliveryman Grundl noted of the “kind of scary” situation. “You never know when somebody’s, maybe, just trying to give you a little hint there.”
Hoffman has been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, strangulation and suffocation, felony intimidation of a victim, and burglary of a building. He faces over 50 years behind bars if convicted of the crimes.
Main photo: Dean Hoffman [Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office]