METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) - A man who was arrested after a quick-thinking shopper thwarted the attempted kidnapping of a woman at a busy shopping plaza in Methuen has been ordered held without bail.

Rafael Rosario, 53, of Lawrence, was arraigned Monday in Lawrence District Court on several charges including attempted carjacking, strangulation, and attempted kidnapping. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Police say the victim was in her car with the door closed in the parking lot of Market Basket at the Merrimack Plaza on Haverhill street just before 8 p.m. on Friday night when Rosario forced his way into her vehicle, grabbed her by the throat, and attacked her.

The woman screamed and honked the horn, getting the attention of another shopper who had just pulled into a parking space nearby.

“Thank God the gentleman was there to assist,” said Methuen police Capt. Kristopher McCarthy. “It was very brave. We don’t recommend people taking action like that, but we were glad he took the action he did to place this man into custody.”

When police arrived, they say that man was chasing Rosario across Haverhill Street, but he stopped pursuing the suspect when the man reached for something in his waistband.

Police took over the pursuit and pinned Rosario in a backyard on Hobson Street. He was said to be hiding in the snow and in possession of a liquor bottle.

The victim was not seriously hurt in the incident.

Police say the incident is a reminder to always keep an eye on what’s happening around you.

“We just ask people to be aware of your surroundings,” McCarthy said. “This plaza is very busy, there were people around when this occurred; we ask people to be aware of their surroundings at all times.”

Rosario, who was on probation on larceny and assault charges, is due back in court March 15.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox