METHEUN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Lawrence man is set to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court Monday on charges he tried to carjack and kidnap a woman in the parking lot of a Methuen Market Basket—an attack that was stopped when the victim fought back and a bystander stepped in to help.
Rafael Rosario, 53, is charged with strangulation, attempted kidnapping, attempted carjacking, and assault and battery.
Methuen Police say Rosario forced his way into a woman's car in the middle of the well-lit, bustling parking lot of the Market Basket on Haverhill Street around 7:50 p.m. Friday, grabbing her by the throat. The victim screamed and honked the car horn.
That's when Jay Sarcione, who had pulled into the lot in his snowplow, heard the commotion.
"I heard her, 'Help, help!' she was screaming for help," Sarcione told WBZ-TV. "She had got out ... I said, 'Do you know him?' She said, no, no!"
Sarcione said he charged after Rosario, who police later found hiding in the snow on nearby Hobson Street.
The victim declined medical treatment at the scene.
"She is alright, she had some bruising and redness and swelling to her neck where she was being choked, but other than that, she did a fantastic job as far as alerting people that she was in danger and fighting off the suspect," said Methuen Police captain Chris McCarthy.
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon praised Sarcione for his efforts, but reminded the public that police don't want you to chase suspects—that's their job.
"I would like to commend the brave citizen who witnessed this incident and sprang into action to help," Chief Solomon said in a release. "However, chasing after a suspect is something that can be extremely dangerous and we ask all residents that find themselves in an emergency to call 911 and let our officers take over from there."
Sarcione said he doesn't feel like a hero, and told WBZ-TV why he chased Rosario.
"Going after him outweighed not, because if he got away, he could do it to someone else in a day, in six months or something," he said. "But someone that's gonna approach a woman in her car when there's a ton of people around and try to attack and get in her car with her probably isn't someone who should be lurking around anyway, you know?"
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports