2 men arrested in abduction of senator's wife

October 10, 2003|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

CARTERET, N.J. - Two men suspected of kidnapping the wife of Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire were arrested by police in this industrial community alongside the New Jersey Turnpike after they parked in a commuter lot being staked out by narcotics detectives.

Christopher Lee Ford, 31, and Michael John Pierre, 26, both of the Washington area, are accused of abducting Kathleen Gregg at knifepoint Tuesday from her home in McLean, Va., and forcing her to drive to a bank, where she withdrew money before escaping unharmed.

"We had our special investigation unit doing surveillance in ... a known drug location," said Carteret Police Chief John Pieczyski in detailing the arrests Wednesday.

"The officers noticed two persons acting suspiciously. They looked up the Virginia plate on the vehicle, which certainly stood out," Pieczyski said at a news conference yesterday. The car turned out to be stolen.

As detectives approached, Ford jumped into the car and sped away, Pieczyski said. A brief chase ended when the vehicle crossed a roadway and plunged into a creek. Ford suffered a broken leg and other injuries.

Officers quickly captured Pierre, who had tried to run, police said.

In Fairfax County, Va., Police Chief Tom Manger said yesterday that he expected the two suspects to be charged with abduction, robbery and burglary.

According to Kathleen Gregg, 52, she had been sitting in her kitchen after returning home from shopping when she was confronted by two men, who demanded cash. They tied her face-down on the kitchen floor and searched the house for valuables, taking a ring, golf clubs and $50 from her wallet.

"One man was sitting on me, and I kept thinking: `I need to get out of this house,'" the senator's wife told WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H. "And I said, `The only way I can get you money is if we go to the bank.'"

She said that during the trip to the bank, one robber held a knife to her throat and that inside the bank, a knife was held at her side.

After giving one robber some money, the senator's wife said she managed to escape by running down a hallway at the bank and locking herself in a closet.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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