Kidnap, robbery suspect caught
By Katie Curley
NEWBURYPORT ¬ A Newburyport teenager is safe at home and a local man is behind bars today after what police describe as a frightening kidnapping and robbery a block from the downtown area yesterday.
Jonathan Pesa, 33, with listed addresses of 39 High St. in Amesbury and 30 Beach Road in Salisbury, was arrested by Massachusetts State Police in Haverhill early yesterday morning on charges he robbed and kidnapped a Newburyport 17-year-old at knife point.
According to Newburyport police, early Sunday morning, shortly after midnight, the teenager was grabbed by knife point at the intersection of Middle Road and Fair Street and pulled into a 2004 Ford Escape. The teen was walking home from work.
The teenager was robbed of his coat, wallet and money and then dropped off on Spofford Street.
"The subject came in with his parents to the station," said Sgt. Stephen Chaisson, noting there were witnesses who identified the vehicle and the teenager. "Due to the kid's composure and clear thinking, he was able to identify him and we caught the guy."
Officer Kevin Martin, who assisted in the investigation, said the victim was able to offer a detailed description of Pesa, which set the stage for a quick arrest.
"He was very clear-headed," Martin said. "Even right down to a tattoo the suspect had on his hand, he was able to notice everything and describe it."
Hours later, Pesa crashed his car in the area of the Hillsdale Avenue overpass along I-495 in Haverhill and was arrested by Trooper Heather Smolinksy at 5:05 a.m. yesterday.
"Newburyport police had a ("be on the lookout") bulletin out on him and we returned him and towed his car to Newburyport," state police spokesman Sgt. Timothy Finn said. "Just one vehicle was involved in the accident."
Due to a prior narcotics investigation, Chaisson said police in Amesbury and Salisbury were able to identify Pesa quickly. Records show Pesa had been arrested in June and charged with domestic assault and battery in Salisbury.
State police charged Pesa with driving while under the influence of drugs and marked lanes violation. He was then turned over to Newburyport police.
Newburyport police charged him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and kidnapping.
"The kid is shaken up today but has no injuries," Chaisson said. "After a search of the vehicle, we were able to recover the coat, money, wallet and weapon."
Martin was unsure what a toxicology screen of Pesa found in his system but said antidepressants and anti-seizure medications were found in his vehicle after the arrest.
Pesa is being held on $50,000 cash bail. He was to be arraigned today in Newburyport District Court.
Newburyport police Sgt. Chaisson and officers Martin, Eric Marshall, Dani Michalek and Charles Vorderis made the arrest.