BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A man who kidnapped a woman in Bethlehem is now in custody, police say.
Ruben Carrion Melendez, 27, is accused of forcing the 25-year-old woman into his car Tuesday morning, then driving off, before being stopped a few hours later near New York City, according to the Northampton County district attorney’s office and Bethlehem police.
Authorities first received several 911 calls around 7:20 a.m. reporting a man grabbing a woman and pulling her into a vehicle in the 3400 block of Commerce Center Boulevard, in the area of QVC, authorities said.
Melendez, who has an active Protection From Abuse (PFA) order against him for stalking the woman, had used his car to drive the woman’s car off the road, an investigation found. He then got in her vehicle, forcing her into the passenger seat, and crashed her car into a pole, police said.
Melendez then grabbed the woman’s hair and pulled her into his black Honda Civic and sped off, police said.
About two hours later, around 9:10 a.m., Port Authority police spotted Melendez’s car headed toward the Holland Tunnel, said Port Authority police, in a statement.
An officer tried to pull him over, and Melendez tried to drive around one of the police vehicles and ended up hitting the bumper of it, police said. Melendez’s car was stopped and he was taken into custody.
He was found to have a hammer in his possession, Port Authority police said.
“Obviously, wherever he was headed, it was out of this area, so we got him before he was able to do something extraordinarily stupid,” said Terry Houck, Northampton County district attorney.
The victim was also in the car, and she was treated for facial injuries then taken to the hospital, authorities said.
Authorities are working to bring Melendez back to Pennsylvania to face charges of kidnapping, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and simple assault, the DA said.
Port Authority police are charging Melendez with criminal restraint, eluding arrest and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.