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Due date Dec. 26 for pregnant woman attacked during robbery

Due date Dec. 26 for pregnant woman attacked during robbery

She was tied up and sprayed with chemicals

The expectant mother authorities say was attacked, tied up and sprayed with chemicals inside her Schenectady apartment earlier this month is now out of the area and doing well, her mother said Tuesday.

Family took the nine-months-pregnant Shania Lynds out of Schenectady after the Dec. 8 attack and she is now preparing to give birth, her mother, Rachel Lynds, told The Gazette by phone Tuesday. She is due the day after Christmas.

“She’s doing OK,” the mother said. “She was real shook up about the whole thing.”

“She’s now focusing on finding an apartment in a new location and on the baby coming,” Rachel Lynds said later. “Right now, she feels much safer where she is.”

Two women are now in jail on first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery charges, accused of using an offer of baby clothes to enter Shania Lynds’ Broadway apartment and then attacking her while seeking $500 in cash they believed Lynds had withdrawn for rent.

When Lynds, 22, refused to point them to the money, the assailants tied her up, armed themselves with knives and sprayed her with cleaning chemicals, prosecutor William Sanderson said last week. Left in a closet, the woman freed herself, waited for the suspects to leave and summoned help from a neighbor.

Facing charges are Niquasia M. Huntley, 20, of Congress Street, and Janelle J. Moore, 18, of State Street. They appeared in court earlier last week and learned of grand jury action against them. An indictment is expected to be handed up later.

Attorneys for both, William Nowak and Mark Juda, have declined comment.

Rachel Lynds said she first heard of what happened to her daughter that night from Shania in a phone call from the hospital.

“Very scared,” Rachel Lynds said of her reaction to the news. “I mean I’m an hour away. So for the hour drive, all the way up to Schnectady, I didn’t really know what to expect.”

Shania Lynds has lived in Schenectady in recent years, but the family is from Washington County.

As for her daughter’s reaction, Rachel Lynds said: “She was very upset and she was crying, but she didn’t think that she was seriously injured or anything.
“She had marks on her from the chemical burns. She had marks from the ties on her wrists and ankles, a couple of bruises.”

According to Sanderson:

The incident began as Huntley called to offer the baby clothes. (Rachel Lynds said her daughter knew Huntley through a former roommate.)

Huntley arrived with Moore. They soon demanded the woman get on the floor, punched her and dragged her into a room. They demanded cash.

Huntley eventually found the woman’s wallet, said it was empty and continued to demand to know the location of the money, Sanderson said.

The two soon 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.

After more searching, they finally left, but not before calling a cab to pick them up. The woman freed herself and left to summon police.

Authorities arrested the pair a short time later at a Congress Street apartment. Police found several of Lynds’ possessions in the apartment. Sanderson said jail officers also later found cash matching the denominations and amount missing from Lynds in Huntley’s cell.

During the incident, Rachel Lynds said the pair also threw cleaning chemicals and bleach on the crib, baby swing and other items. Family cleaned up the items, but had to replace some blankets, Rachel Lynds said.

For now, Shania Lynds remains on track to give birth soon. She’s already got a name picked out her child, a girl, Rachel Lynds said. Her first child, she will be named Zoey Ann.

The mother said she still can’t believe what happened.

“It’s just absolutely disgusting what these girls did,” Rachel Lynds said. “I didn’t even realize that people did stuff like that. Especially to someone who’s pregnant. And to damage the baby’s stuff? It’s just horrible. It’s very frightening.”

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