Saratoga County

Police: Man picked victim at random

An illegal immigrant living in Corinth who was charged Monday with kidnapping a 24-year-old woman Th
Victor Hernandez-Perez
Victor Hernandez-Perez

An illegal immigrant living in Corinth who was charged Monday with kidnapping a 24-year-old woman Thursday night apparently targeted her at random, police said.

A state trooper Sunday evening recognized the suspect’s van from witness descriptions and stopped Victor Hernandez-Perez as he was driving on state Route 9N south of the village of Corinth.

Authorities said Trooper Richard Billings spotted Hernandez-Perez’s 1996 Plymouth Voyager and recognized it from items on the outside of the van that had been provided in the description, Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III said. He declined to elaborate.

The driver swerved onto the right shoulder, then came back onto the road, so Billings pulled him over for that violation.

Hernandez-Perez spoke fluent English and told Billings he doesn’t have a driver’s license and is in the U.S. illegally, Billings said Monday.

Billings also identified the inside of the van based on what the victim told police. He called for backup from other state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and city police officers.

The suspect came to the city police station later Sunday night and “made some verbal admissions regarding the incident,” Lt. Gregory Veitch said Monday. Authorities did not say what happened between the time he was stopped and the time he appeared at the police station.

Hernandez-Perez, 23, of 222 Center St., Apt. 3, was then arrested late Sunday night and charged with felony second-degree kidnapping and felony first-degree robbery. He is being held in Saratoga County Jail without bail.

His charges each carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, Murphy said. If convicted, Hernandez-Perez, a citizen of El Salvador, would serve his sentence here before being deported, Murphy said.

Police said Hernandez-Perez has been in the country for about six years after crossing the Mexican border and works as a cook at local restaurants.

They declined to name the restaurants, citing the continuing investigation.

The 24-year-old woman was abducted at gunpoint in the area of Grand Avenue and Walnut Street Thursday night. Police said she was walking on Walnut Street talking to her boyfriend on her cellphone when she was hit in the back of the head with a pistol, knocked to the ground, dragged into the side door of a minivan and ordered to take off her clothes at gunpoint, police said.

“He told our victim he was going to rape her and kill her,” city police Chief Edward Moore said Monday.

Before the call went dead, the boyfriend heard the woman tell the suspect to take her money instead of taking her, police said. He went to the area in search of her and called police to report her missing.

While city police questioned him, Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a naked woman yelling for help on Howe Road in Greenfield.

The victim had leaped from the moving van in Greenfield after jumping into the front seat and getting the door open. She ran to a nearby home, and two witnesses called police along with the residents of the home, authorities said.

Police said Hernandez-Perez had activated the child safety locks in the back of the van, so the woman could not get the back doors open.

She had about $500 in her purse, which remained in the van after she jumped to safety. That’s why Hernandez-Perez was charged with robbery, authorities said.

Authorities executed a search warrant on his home Monday and recovered one weapon, Murphy said.

Hernandez-Perez does not have a criminal record with the city Police Department. Murphy said the suspect has a girlfriend and a young child.

In announcing the arrest Monday afternoon at City Hall, authorities cited cooperation between city and state police and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department as the key in making the arrest.

Categories: Schenectady County

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