SCHENECTADY — Met with an offer of baby clothes, the city resident -- nine-months pregnant -- accepted.
She knew the woman and let her in with another person. Soon, she became suspicious of their intentions, but her suspicions surfaced too late, Schenectady County prosecutor William Sanderson said.
The two women who arrived offering baby clothes attacked the pregnant woman, held her at knife point and demanded the location of $500 in cash the woman had withdrawn for rent, Sanderson said.
When she refused to point them to the money, the assailants tied her up, armed themselves with knives and sprayed her with cleaning chemicals. Left in a closet, the woman freed herself, waited for the suspects to leave and summoned help from a neighbor, Sanderson said.
She was treated for injuries related to the chemical spray. Her unborn child appeared unharmed, Sanderson said.
The two suspects were arrested on burglary and robbery charges that could put them in prison for up to 25 years. A grand jury has partially acted on an indictment. Details of the final formal charges are expected later. For now, the suspects are in the county jail.
Facing charges are Niquasia M. Huntley, 20, of Congress Street, and Janelle J. Moore, 18, of State Street. They appeared in court earlier this week and learned of the grand jury action. Attorneys for both, William Nowak and Mark Juda, have declined comment.
The alleged incident happened on the evening of Dec. 8 at the pregnant woman's Broadway residence.
Sanderson gave the following description of the invasion:
The victim had withdrawn $500 from her account earlier that day and had another $50 from her baby shower. Huntley and Moore appeared to have known about the rent money and targeted the woman.
Huntley, who knew the victim, called with the offer of the baby clothes. Huntley then arrived with Moore.
After staying awhile, both Huntley and Moore went into the bathroom at the same time. Sensing something was wrong, the victim picked up her cellphone readying to summon help if needed.
The two suspects emerged, took the phone before she could use it and announced a robbery. They demanded the woman get on the floor. They also punched her, dragged her into a room and demanded cash.
Huntley eventually found the woman's wallet, said it was empty and continued to demand to know the location of the money.
The woman gave them a small ring from her finger and they popped her air mattress. They even took food from her refrigerator.
The two then moved the woman into the closet, tied her up with shoe strings and backpack straps and sprayed her with the cleaning fluid. They also dumped mop water on her.
The two left her tied in the closet and propped a chair against the door knob. She got herself loose, but waited in the closet and listened. After more searching, they finally left,but not before calling a cab to pick them up. The woman heard the cab call and informed police after she made her way to a downstairs neighbor.
Police confirmed the cab call and the destination, a known address of Huntley on Congress Street. Police found the two there hiding in a bathtub.
They also recovered the woman's wallet there, a baby care package and the victim's ID.
Jail officials later recovered other apparent evidence in Huntley's cell. When switching Huntley to a different cell, officers found an unsealed envelope containing a letter to Huntley's mother -- and $550 in cash in the same denominations taken from the victim. Charges related to the cash at the jail, which is contraband, are pending, Sanderson said.
Sanderson said the victim is doing well.
She was treated for injuries, mostly for irritation from the spray chemicals. She also suffered pain to her wrists and ankles from the ligatures.
"Her due date is the day after Christmas and she may have a Christmas baby," Sanderson said. "But, thankfully, she seems physically well and the baby seems to be doing OK."