Let's assume the other stories from other sources are correct and they weren't getting "final checks" much less severance... taking the founder hostage and negotiating may not have been a bad idea.
Been there, done that. Came in on a Monday, found the office stripped bare and a note on the door: "We're sending you your checks. But don't cash them for a week.". Yes.. the checks were rubber and never were redeemed. Meantime, the owner took the cash that was left, paid off his mortgage, bought a new car and went on a long (6 month extended vacation). Perhaps if we (the former employees) had went to the main office and took it over, we might have actually been paid... or hauled off to jail for being malcontents.