By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — A woman charged with using a knife to rob several elderly people will remain behind bars.
At a dangerousness hearing yesterday in Haverhill District Court, a judge ordered Michelle Legault, 35, of Barrington, N.H., held without bail as her case proceeds through the court process, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex District Attorney’s office.
The hearing was held to determine whether Legault is considered too much of a threat to society to be released on bail.
Legault is charged with one count of attempting to commit a crime, four counts of armed assault to rob a person over the age of 65, and armed robbery. She is also charged with sexual conduct for a fee.
On June 19, police charged Legault and Lisa Wallace, 46, of 64 Laurel Ave., Bradford, with working together to try to rob the elders.
Wallace is charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery, four counts conspiracy to commit armed assault with intent to rob a person over the age of 65, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and deriving support from prostitution. She was released on $5,000 bail yesterday, Kimball Monahan said.
She said both women are due back in court July 23 for a probable cause hearing.
According to police, the crimes took place at the Westgate Shopping Plaza on Lowell Avenue and Central Plaza at 2 Water St. on June 11 and 12. Police said Wallace drove the car and Legault approached the victims.
Assistant District Attorney Stephen Patten said the women robbed six victims, ranging in age from 60 to 81, because they thought they were “easy targets” and the women needed the money to fuel their heroin habits.
Patten said Legault would conceal a steak knife in her sleeve and that she would walk up to people who were doing things such as shopping or out for an appointment and demand money. In one instance, police said she tried to snatch a purse. In another, police said she tried to pick and elderly man’s pocket while he fought her off with his cane.
Police said the arrests were the culmination of an intensive investigation launched a week ago after the victims reported the crimes.
Haverhill police Lt. Robert Pistone told The Eagle-Tribune that detectives were so incensed by the nature of the crimes — “elderly victims being preyed upon” — that they worked long and hard hours to solve them.
Pistone credited the victims’ descriptions of an older model Subaru station wagon with New Hampshire plates and the knife-wielding woman with leading to the arrests. Detective Glenn Fogarty located the suspected car travelling on Laurel Avenue in Bradford, police said.