Trio caught after armed home invasion; one is former employee of victim
WESTPORT — A man armed with what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol forced his way into a Windward Way house Friday afternoon, robbed a man and woman of a large amount of cash and then fled in a car with two women, Westport Police say.
The trio didn't get far.
The man who had been robbed called 911 at 3 p.m.and was able to provide dispatcher Jen Scott with a description of the rear of the gold getaway car as it left Windward Way which is located off Main Road in Westport Point.
Police officers flooded the area and minutes later Lieutenant John Bell spotted a similar vehicle headed north on
Route 88. Three occupants of the car were removed and taken into custody.
Officers found a black semi-automatic (in appearance) handgun which turned out to be a BB gun with a removable magazine.
"There were no child safety markings on the weapon and it appeared realistic," said Detective Jeff Majewski. In addition to the gun was a large amount of cash inside the seat cargo pocket and door panel.
Three occupants of the car were arrested.
Christopher Matton, 21, of 166 Mott Street, Fall River was identified by the homeowner as the intruder.
Two women inside the car were charged as well. Wendy Phaneuf, 42 and Marianne Medeiros, 42, both of 853 Slade Street in Fall River, were identified as participants — police said one of them drove Mr. Matton to the house, and they helped him plan the crime, serve as lookouts and participated in his getaway.
"Ms. Phaneuf was a previous employee of the victim and believed the cash would be located inside the house," Det. Majewsk said. Police found a large amount of cash next to her in the car.
The homeowner told police he heard a knock at the door when the intruder forced open the door, showed a handgun and told him to get down on his knees.
Mr. Matton demanded money and put the gun to the victim’s head. A woman inside the home tried to physically stop the suspect but was pushed to the floor, Det. Majewski said. The suspect grabbed a purse and ran from the house to the waiting vehicle with an undetermined amount of cash.
Mr. Matton was charged with home invasion armed with a firearm, armed robbery, kidnapping, armed assault in a dwelling, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy. Both women were charged with conspiracy to commit those crimes, the penalty for which can be life in prison.
Mr. Matton was held on $15,000 cash bail while the two women were held on $10,000 cash bail each.
Several officers participated in the investigation which diverted traffic on Route 88 for several minutes.