EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 4, 2012

Cabbies help nab suspects in carjacking

LAWRENCE — Lawrence police Officer John R. DeSantis Jr. drove to the area of East Haverhill and Berkley streets yesterday morning, expecting to meet with a taxi cab driver who had his cab stolen from him at gunpoint.

But as he pulled up, DeSantis said he found numerous cabs parked around the intersection and drivers gathered on the street. "As I got closer to the sidewalk area, I observed a large male with unkempt hair in dreadlocks laying on the ground and in the snow," DeSantis wrote in his report.

"He was breathing heavy, very wet and surrounded by cab drivers," the officer wrote of the man he was about to arrest.

Jaime Fernando, 57, of Lawrence, the wounded Liberty Cab Service driver, told DeSantis that the man on the ground was the one who whacked him on the head with a gun and then commandeered his cab with the help of an accomplice. Fernando showed the officer a bloody, two-inch cut on the back of the head.

Police later identified the cabbies' prisoner as Frankie Robinson, 20, of 109 Willow St., Lawrence.

With the help of the cab drivers, DeSantis and the other officers searched the area where the second suspect was seen running and followed his tracks in the snow to a boat in the backyard of a house across from 72 E. Haverhill St., the officer wrote.

There, one of the cab drivers lifted up a tarp covering the boat and discovered a black guitar case the suspect was seen fleeing with.

DeSantis unzipped the case and discovered a Winchester shotgun inside. Police later determined the gun had been reported stolen in Grafton, N.H. Officers caught the second suspect nearby and later identified him as George Cabrera, 19, also of 109 Willow St., Lawrence.

Robinson and Cabrera were being held last night at Essex County Jail in Middleton and were due to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court tomorrow.

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