- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2003

The two men wanted in connection with abducting and robbing the wife of Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, in Fairfax County were arrested late Wednesday in New Jersey after the pair stumbled into an undercover drug-surveillance operation, police said yesterday.

Police in Carteret, N.J., spotted the pair in a stolen 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in a known drug-trafficking area about 10 p.m. Wednesday after police in Virginia put out an alert for the vehicle early Tuesday, Carteret Police Chief John Pieczyski told reporters yesterday.

“Obviously, the Virginia plate stood out, and they saw these guys leave their vehicle and walk around and around and around, acting suspiciously,” Chief Pieczyski said.

The suspects were identified as Michael Pierre, 26, of Upper Marlboro, and Christopher Forbes, 31, of no fixed address. Police in New Jersey charged both men with aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of stolen property, auto grand larceny and resisting arrest.

Fairfax County police said yesterday each suspect may be charged with abduction, robbery and burglary in connection with Tuesday’s incident involving Mr. Gregg’s wife, Kathleen.

Police said the two men abducted Mrs. Gregg, 52, at knifepoint from her McLean home and forced her to drive to a local bank to withdraw money. Mrs. Gregg escaped unharmed after the robbers fled the bank in the Monte Carlo.

Police said the Monte Carlo was reported stolen the previous day from the Franconia area in Fairfax County.

Late Wednesday in Carteret, an unmarked police car approached the suspects’ Monte Carlo, prompting Mr. Pierre to run off and Mr. Forbes to veer the car toward officers before speeding away, FBI Special Agent Steve Kodak said. The car crashed into a fence a short distance away and Mr. Forbes broke a leg, Agent Kodak said. Mr. Pierre also was found.

Fairfax County police said Mr. Pierre was taken into custody and was being held in a Carteret jail last night. Police said Mr. Forbes was under guard at a hospital last night.

Agent Kodak said there is a possibility that federal charges might be filed.

Fairfax County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said investigators are looking at the possibility of charging the two men with four other similar robberies that occurred recently in Northern Virginia. Investigators collected DNA and fingerprints from the Gregg home — evidence that may be linked to the other robberies.

In interviews on Wednesday, Mrs. Gregg said she had gone to the dry cleaners and a nearby 7-Eleven to get some milk before returning home that morning. It was the same 7-Eleven where police said a man on Sept. 29 had abducted an Alexandria woman and her two children and forced her to drive to a bank in McLean and withdraw money.

“Apparently, it’s the place where they think the people were and they followed me home from the 7-Eleven,” Mrs. Gregg told the Telegraph in Nashua, N.H.

When she returned home, Mrs. Gregg said she left the garage door open and went indoors to relax.

“I made my cup of tea, sat down and was reading the newspaper, and I could hear someone in the garage and I stood up. The next thing in my back hallway was two men less than two feet away from me. I looked at them and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ Then it clicked,” Mrs. Gregg told the Telegraph.

“I ran to the front door, but I didn’t get there. They caught me, threw me down on the floor, tied me up and started just being very abusive. They were just totally out of control,” she said.

She said the two men threatened her with a knife and tied her up face- down on the floor. The intruders went through the house, rifling through jewelry. The robbers took silverware, Mr. Gregg’s golf clubs, a laptop computer, a gift bracelet from Mr. Gregg when son Joshua was born, a Christmas jewelry gift from Joshua, jewelry belonging to the two Gregg daughters, and $50 from Mrs. Gregg’s wallet.

“One man was sitting on me and I kept thinking, ‘I need to get out of this house,’ and I said, ‘The only way I can get you money is if we go to the bank,’” she told WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H.

After lying tied up on the floor for more than an hour, she persuaded the men to untie her and take her to the bank.

The black man held a knife to her throat as they drove her Mercedes station wagon to the Wachovia bank in the 1300 block of Chain Bridge Road, five miles away from the Gregg’s home in Potomac Knolls.

“I walked into the bank with this man with a knife at my side, walked up to the teller I always use and said I would like the sum of money,” Mrs. Gregg told the Telegraph. “The teller said, ‘Are you all right?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ The man with the knife in my side started a conversation with me, something about [a] birthday party so it would look as if we knew each other.”

The teller reportedly gave $5,000 in cash to Mrs. Gregg, who gave it to the robber. Mrs. Gregg then ran into a hallway, locked herself in a restroom and called police.

“Her decision was perfect in terms of going along until she could safely get herself free,” Chief Manger said.

Jewelry and other items stolen from the Gregg’s home were reportedly found in the suspects’ car.

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