A woman told police she was kidnapped from the parking lot of a Dollar General in Dudley on Tuesday night after she let a couple she believed to be homeless in her car to get out of the cold.
The man and woman, identified by police as Dudley residents Jessie Thibodeau, 44, and Nichole Murphy, 31, were arrested in the predawn hours Wednesday and are facing charges including kidnapping, armed robbery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to Dudley police. Both Thibodeau and Murphy are expected to be arraigned Wednesday in Dudley District Court.
Police said a woman walked into the Webster Police Department around 8 p.m. on Tuesday to report that she had been held against her will in her own vehicle. She told authorities she was parked outside the Dollar General Store in Dudley when a man and woman, whom she didn’t know, approached her car.
“These individuals stated that they were homeless and asked to smoke inside of her vehicle to get out of the cold,” police said.
When the woman let them inside the car, the man, later identified by police as Thibodeau, allegedly told her he had a gun to the back of her head.
“The victim stated that the two wanted cash and made her drive them around Webster, Massachusetts for approximately one hour,” police said. “She stated that the individuals advised her to contact anyone that she could get money from.”
They later instructed her to drop them off at The Wash Tub Laundromat in Dudley, where they got out of the car and walked away, according to police. The victim reported her license, cell phone, and $20 stolen at that time.
Officers responding to the incident observed a man matching the description given by the victim in video surveillance, authorities said.
“During this time, it was learned a second person had reported a male and female approached her vehicle at the Dollar General parking lot shortly before this incident,” police said. “This person stated that a male knocked on the car window and asked for a ride down the street. The male party then attempted to open the door, however; the person was able to drive away.”
The person provided similar descriptions of the suspects, police said.
Officers located what appeared to be fresh footprints in the snow near where the victim reported the man and woman left her car. Police tracked the footprints to a residence on Green Street.
“The lights were turned off and there was no response at the door. Based upon photos of possible suspects and other information, it was believed the involved parties were present at that residence,” police said.
Officers entered the residence around 1 a.m. on Wednesday after being granted a search warrant. Thibodeau and Murphy were arrested and charged with armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and larceny from a person. Thibodeau was also arrested on an outstanding warrant, according to police, and both were held on bail pending their court appearances Wednesday.