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Monday, June 24, 2013

Kidnapping Suspects Arraigned

By James Lomuscio

Handcuffed together and under the watch of court officers, two kidnapping and robbery suspects arrested by Westport police Saturday appeared for arraignment today in Norwalk Superior Court.

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Andrew “Drew” Frank (l),21, of Stamford, and Peter Ferraro Jr., 24, of Norwalk at their arraignment today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Cablevision-News 12 photo

Police said they kidnapped, robbed, assaulted and threatened to kill a man they gave a ride to early Wednesday from the East Norwalk train station and let him go in Westport. Police said the man had intended to get off in Westport but mistakenly got off in East Norwalk.

Judge William J. Wenzel ordered Norwalk resident Peter Ferraro, 24, who was on parole at the time of the alleged crimes, remanded to the Department of Corrections. He set a next appearance date of July 9 in Stamford Superior Court Part A, where more serious crimes are heard.

According to Westport Police Capt. Vincent Penna, Ferraro will remain locked up until his next court appearance. Penna said that even if Ferraro comes up with the $90,000 cash surety bond set by the judge, which is lower than the $150,000 the police had set, he will remain in jail is because he violated parole.

Co-defendant Andrew “Drew” Frank, 21, of 99 Highview Ave., Stamford was the next to come before Wenzel. As Frank’s parents looked on, the judge scheduled Frank to appear in Stamford Part A on July 15. His surety bond was set at $75,000, also reduced from the $150,000 set by the police.

Both are charged with first-degree kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Ferraro is additionally charged with credit card theft, illegal use of a credit card, and sixth-degree larceny.

According to police, the suspects offered the victim a ride for $10 on Wednesday at 1:15 a.m. after had mistakenly gotten off a New Haven Line train at the East Norwalk station.

But after taking him through unknown streets, the victim told police the suspects forced him out of the car and at knife point, demanded more money, took his wallet and put him back in the car.

Penna said the victim had been asked repeatedly for his PIN number, and when he did not provide it, he was struck in the face.

The other occupants of the car then got out and Ferraro, holding a folding knife, drove off with the victim, threatening to kill him if he provided wrong PIN numbers to his debit cards, police said.

After the victim provided Ferraro with his PIN number, police said he was released in Westport near Wright Street and Kings Highway North. Penna said Ferraro later used the ATM card at two Norwalk bank locations. Surveillance photos taken at the ATM aided in tracking the suspect, police said.

Of the two co-defendants, Ferraro Jr. of 149 East Rocks Road, Norwalk, was the first two be heard.

His attorney, Public Defender Jenna Marshall, argued that a request for media access be denied, saying “any further media attention” would prejudice the case. Wenzel disagreed and allowed the press to remain.

In announcing the arrest after the suspects turned themselves in Saturday, Westport police noted “media and public assistance, as well as the assistance of both the Norwalk and Stamford Police Departments, was instrumental in the speedy and successful conclusion of this violent crime investigation.”

“You’re charged with multiple counts here,” the judge told Ferraro.

After reading the charges to him, Wenzel paused, said nothing and faced the area where the defendants sat.  Bespectacled and with thin light beard framing his face, Ferraro just stared ahead.

The bail commissioner noted that Ferraro was on parole at the time of the alleged crime for a 2009 conviction for operating a drug factory. The commissioner also noted that Ferraro had a conviction in 2006 for the possession of marijuana and having weapon in a motor vehicle.

Though the prosecutor, Assistant State’s Attorney Suzanne Vieux, argued that the $150,000 bond placed by the Westport police remain in force, the judge agreed to a $90,000 cash surety bond.

Frank was represented by Attorney Stephen DeLeo who is also representing Frank in two other Stamford cases involving narcotics and breach of peace, he said.

Noting that Frank is employed as a construction worker, has ties to the community, was only a passenger in the car driven by Ferraro and that “he contacted me when he knew there was a warrant for his arrest,” Deleo asked that Frank be placed under home arrest. That was denied, and his bond was set at $75,000.

Though Wenzel wanted the co-defendants to appear in the Stamford court on the same date, DeLeo noted he would not be back from vacation until July 14, so Wenzel set Frank’s court appearance for July 15.

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Posted 06/24/13 at 05:57 PM  Permalink



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