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Billie Jo Ribble, pregnant fugitive, charged with kidnapping after latest "great escape," authorities say

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AP/iStockphoto

(CBS/AP) CORNING, N.Y. - A pregnant woman who was arrested last week after eluding capture for months in a New York gun theft case, later assaulted a jail guard at a hospital, jumped out a window and kidnapped a woman and her baby at knifepoint, whereupon she was arrested again, authorities said.

Billie Jo Ribble was arraigned Tuesday in federal court in Rochester, N.Y. on two counts of kidnapping, said Steuben County Undersheriff Jeffrey Allard and FBI officials. She was also arraigned on local charges relating to a gun theft case near her hometown last fall and her hospital escape last week in Pennsylvania, Allard told The Associated Press.

Authorities said Ribble has a long criminal history, which continued Friday afternoon, March 1, when she was arrested in Mansfield, Pa. on charges stemming from an October 2012 theft of 15 rifles and shotguns from a home in Howard, N.Y.

Steuben County sheriff's investigators were tipped off that she was meeting someone at the Walmart in Mansfield to receive "travel money," Allard said. When she arrived, she was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police.

Friday night, after being arraigned in a Tioga County, Pa. court on fugitive-from-justice charges, Ribble was being taken to jail night when she complained of stomach pains related to her pregnancy, Allard said. Ribble, who told Allard she was seven months' pregnant, was taken to a hospital in nearby Wellsboro, Pa.

Officials said at the hospital, Ribble then grabbed a chair or stool and hit a county correction officer, and jumped out a third-story window onto a roof, where she used a ladder to reach the ground.

Around 1 a.m. Saturday, she broke into a nearby home and forced a woman with a 6-month-old baby to drive her back to New York, police said. En route, Ribble used the woman's cellphone to call someone in Corning, N.Y. She had the woman drop her off along a New York road, where someone picked her up, Allard said.

Allard said Ribble disabled the woman's phone, but the woman contacted police once she was back in Pennsylvania.

New York State Police were able to track Ribble's call to a home in Corning where she previously lived. When police arrived at the home early Saturday morning, Ribble fled to the attic, where she threatened to harm herself and her unborn child, Allard said. After about an hour of talking with police, Ribble surrendered.

Corning police said Ribble's arrest record in the city dates back to 2006, mostly for crimes involving drugs, weapons or assault. Her New York prison record shows time spent at Albion Correctional Facility for a robbery conviction in 2003 and another stint for a parole violation. She was released from prison in January 2012.

Allard said she tried to elude arrest for the parole violation by jumping out a home's second-story window.

"She has a pretty good history of flight," Allard said, adding that a network of family and friends helped her elude police over the past several months.

Ribble was being held without bail at the Steuben County Jail. She was charged with burglary in connection with the weapons theft in Howard and charged in Corning City Court as a fugitive from justice from Pennsylvania.

  • Crimesider Staff

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