Police: Engaged couple robbed Groton man who had solicited sex

Groton — City police have arrested an engaged couple they said worked together to rob a man who had solicited sexual favors from the female half of the duo.

According to police, the home invasion occurred Nov. 19 at 1 a.m. within a Bridge Street residence. In his 911 call, the victim’s brother told police a man and a woman had handcuffed and robbed his brother. On arrival, police found the victim still handcuffed.

Through interviews, detectives learned the victim had used a website to solicit sexual favors from the female suspect. Police said the woman initially entered the residence alone, but then said she had to grab something from her vehicle.

When the victim opened his front door to let her back in, police said, he found the woman standing there with another man. According to police, the pair then rushed into the residence with the male suspect claiming he was a police officer.

The man, armed with a silver and black pistol, forced the victim to kneel on the floor and then handcuffed him, according to police. Police said the woman removed two plastic bags containing “a large amount of cash” from a dresser and the duo ran from the home.

Police ultimately identified the suspects as Ashley Harnois, 24, of Woonsocket, R.I., and Jerome Taylor, 27, of 244 Willets Ave., New London.

A day after the home invasion, police encountered Harnois and Taylor at a local hotel and arrested them on separate prostitution-related charges. Police said Taylor was dressed in black and wearing a T-shirt that read “POLICE.” Officers located a silver and black BB gun in the vehicle Taylor was in, according to police.

According to police, Harnois admitted to working as a prostitute during an interview with officers. She allegedly also admitted to working with Taylor to rob the Bridge Street victim.

Police said Taylor additionally admitted to the home invasion robbery. He allegedly said he uses the police persona to scare people so he doesn’t have to use force.

Harnois was charged Thursday with home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree unlawful restraint, fourth-degree larceny and prostitution.

Taylor was charged Thursday with home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree unlawful restraint, impersonation of a police officer, fourth-degree larceny, carrying a dangerous weapon and second-degree promoting prostitution.

Held on $200,000 surety bonds, each arrestee was due in New London Superior Court Friday.

Taylor and Harnois also were arrested together on prostitution-related charges in October during an FBI-led, nationwide effort. Taylor has an extensive criminal record, with convictions for crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to third-degree robbery. Both Taylor and Harnois have several cases pending in the state judicial system.

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