A 34-year-old Massachusetts woman is facing multiple charges after authorities allege she robbed at least two convenience stores with a needle, and then led state and local police departments on a highway chase before she crashed into a police cruiser in Marion.
Ashley Demers is accused of robbing stores in Raynham and New Bedford, and shoplifting from a business in Wareham.
Raynham Police Chief James Donovan says Demers "made violent threats against people doing their jobs to provide goods and services to the public during these difficult times."
Authorities allege Demers brandished a hypodermic needle and claimed to be infected with AIDS before leaving the Raynham convenience store with an unspecified amount of cash.
Demers, of East Wareham, was arrested Monday and charged with armed robbery in Raynham. State police say she will likely face additional charges in other communities, in addition to charges stemming from the police pursuit and other motor vehicle infractions.
Raynham police received a 911 call just after 6 p.m. Monday night for a reported robbery at the Seasons Corner Market, located at 442 New State Highway.
Investigators were able to issue a BOLO notice to surrounding communities after obtaining the license plate number of the suspect's vehicle and a suspect description.
Moments after the notice, state police identified the same vehicle -- a Hyundai Elantra -- as being wanted in connection with a similar robbery in New Bedford.
Just before 7 p.m., a trooper patrolling Route 140 observed the suspect's vehicle that was wanted in connection with the robberies and shoplifting incident.
The trooper tried to stop the car, but the driver -- identified by police as Demers -- refused to stop and fled. The trooper pursued Demers on Route 140 South to Interstate 195 West. Police say she then got off the highway before reentering I-195, heading east at which point police patrols reengaged in pursuit.
Demers eventually exited the highway in Marion where she was involved in a crash with a police cruiser on Front Street. There were no reports of any injuries.
Troopers arrested Demers and took her to the police barracks in Dartmouth. She was "apprehended safely and efficiently by well-trained police officers," Donovan said.
The Raynham chief also said this incident is a great example of teamwork among local departments and state police.
"This was a terrific example of the level of professionalism, teamwork and communication that exists among municipal police departments and the State Police," Donovan said.
Demers will likely be arraigned Tuesday in either Taunton or New Bedford District Court, state police said. It wasn't immediately clear if she had obtained an attorney.