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May 20, 2014
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Police credit dispatcher's quick response for rescue of kidnap victim

Police received a frantic 911 call from a woman, a passenger in a pickup truck, who was screaming for help. When the call disconnected abruptly, the dispatcher used the phone's GPS to track the truck

By Julie Manganis
The Salem News

SALEM, Calif.  Police are crediting "outstanding" work by a quick-acting police dispatcher with potentially saving a woman's life late Sunday night.

Police received a frantic 911 call from a woman, a passenger in a pickup truck, who was screaming for help. When the call disconnected abruptly, the dispatcher used the phone's GPS to track the truck until police caught up with it on Margin Street.

They arrested Robert Scribner, 43, of 10 Taft St., Marblehead, on charges that include kidnapping, threats to commit murder, and domestic assault and battery.

Scribner, who pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court, is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Friday.

Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski credited a civilian dispatcher in the department for locating the suspect.

"Mike Griffin, our dispatcher, did an outstanding job coordinating the search," Prosniewski said.

It was about 11:30 p.m. Sunday when Griffin took a 911 call from a woman who was screaming for help and begging the driver to let her out of the vehicle, according to the police report.

Then the call disconnected.

With no names and no description of the vehicle, Griffin acted quickly.

He was able to contact the woman's cellphone provider, T-Mobile, which in turn was able to locate the phone through its GPS and let police track it through Salem.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile also provided the dispatcher with the name of the phone's owner. When police ran her name through a computer, they discovered that she had been a victim in a domestic incident last year with Scribner.

Griffin used that information to check the Registry of Motor Vehicles and learned that Scribner owned a 2009 Toyota Tacoma. A description of the truck was given out to officers on the street, and within moments, Patrolman Ryan Davis spotted the vehicle on Margin Street.

The woman told police that she had agreed to meet Scribner earlier in the evening at Marblehead High School to discuss their relationship, but as they talked in his truck, he became upset and refused to let her out of the truck. Instead, he took off, heading down Lafayette Street into Salem.

She managed to dial 911 while in the truck.

As she screamed, Scribner held onto her by her hair and told her that he was going to throw her off of a bridge, she told police.

She told police she begged Scribner, "Please don't kill me," as he continued driving.

Scribner will remain in custody at Middleton Jail at least through Friday's hearing.

Prosecutors are expected to play that 911 call for a judge.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Copyright 2014 The Salem News






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