Man allegedly carjacks 75-year-old woman, family with baby in Wareham; told police he was desperate — homeless and hungry

WAREHAM — A man who allegedly kidnapped a 75-year-old woman, then tried to escape in a second car occupied by a family of three, including a 1-year-old girl, pleaded not guilty today to carjacking and other charges and was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail.

Matthew Mullen, 31, according to a Wareham police report filed in Wareham District Court, told police after his arrest that he desperately needed money.

“Desperation,’’ he allegedly told police when asked to explain his actions. “Homeless, and hunger. Haven’t eaten in two days.’’

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

While Mullen painted himself as a man in distress, the woman he allegedly kidnapped told police she feared for her life when Mullen forced her to drive from a supermarket to a nearby bank, where he wanted her to withdraw cash.

“A man walked up behind me and put something into my back,’’ the woman wrote. “He said it was a gun and to follow his directions or I would get hurt.””

The woman said Mullen first asked for her cellphone — she had left it at home — and then ordered her to drive to the nearby Mayflower Bank and withdraw cash. But she said she did not have an ATM card, prompting him to order her to leave the bank parking lot, police alleged in the report.

Moments later, the woman spotted a marked police cruiser on Onset Avenue, stopped the car, and shouted to the officer that she needed help, that she was being robbed. Later, the woman told police she “knew she had to stop because she didn’t know if she would have another chance; she wasn’t sure what the subject would do to her.’’

With the woman out of the driver’s seat, Mullen allegedly seized control of the car and drove off at speeds that reached 70 miles per hour. Police pursued until they lost sight of him. He then abandonded the car and ran through a thicket and onto East Boulevard.

He jumped into the rear seat of a second vehicle on that street, landing next to the toddler, who was in her car seat. The girl’s mother was driving and her father was in the front passenger seat, police said.

“The guy ripped open my back door, saying he had a gun,’’ the mother told police, according to the report. “I said don’t hurt my kid. I tried to drive so he couldn’t get in the car, but he jumped in and slammed the door.’’

Police, who had swarmed into the neighborhood searching for Mullen, were able to box in the car and take Mullen into custody without incident, police said.

“Within seconds, [Wareham police] patrol units surrounded the vehicle and placed Mr. Mullen in custody without further incident,’’ Wareham Police Lieutenant Kevin D. Walsh said in a statement.

Walsh said none of the four victims sustained physical injuries.