Nimblett and Barron began harassing the cab driver, who ordered them out of the vehicle on Low Street. They allegedly punched the driver and grabbed his radio so he couldn’t call for help.
A second cab driver in the area stopped to help and was also set upon, said Ronan. The two younger men allegedly punched the second driver as well, then grabbed his keys and ran when they heard sirens.
Vitale flashed his court officer badge at the police officers, Ronan told the judge, and said he didn’t know who the younger men were, claiming that he’d never been to Newburyport and had just met the men, whom he claimed were named “Mel” and “Bob,” at the Elks Club. He later submitted a written statement stating the same.
Meanwhile, as Nimblett and Barron fled, police received more calls, including one reporting that a young grocery store worker with some developmental issues was robbed of his iPod and then thrown through a car’s rear window by two men fitting their description, Ronan said.
Police from several area communities searched the area near Interstate 95 but did not find the pair. Barron was later arrested and earlier this year pleaded guilty to assault charges; Nimblett, who has ties to Maine, remains wanted on a warrant, according to court records.
Several days later, on Sept. 20, police identified Desmond through the sign-in sheet at the Elks and went to speak with her. She initially denied knowing any of the men or their names. When confronted with the information about the sign-in sheet at the club, she then told the officers that she had met them outside the club.
A day later, during further questioning at the Newburyport District Court, Desmond denied making the statements to the officers, gave them Vitale’s name and then said the younger men were named “Mel” and “Bob.”