Man accused of kidnapping woman, 74, from shopping center behind bars

Joseph Weir (Source: Kenton County Detention Center)
Joseph Weir (Source: Kenton County Detention Center)
This is the sketch police released of the suspect wanted for the abduction.
This is the sketch police released of the suspect wanted for the abduction.

CRESTVIEW HILLS, KY (FOX19) - Police have identified a suspect who is believed to have kidnapped a 74-year-old woman from the Crestview Hills Town Center in May of 2011.

Joseph Weir, 39, was arrested Sunday by Covington Police for robbing the Huntington Bank on Madison. He is currently being held at the Kenton County Detention Center.

Lakeside Park/Crestview Hills Police have presented the abduction case to the Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney for a direct indictment consideration.

Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders says both the felony robbery charge and the felony kidnapping charge he plans to bring against Weir carry 10 to 20 years of prison time if convicted.

While Sanders is confident they have the man responsible for the attempted abduction in custody, he says it is always important for people to remain vigilant about their safety.

"These things happen in the finest of neighborhoods, even in the best malls ," Sanders said. "Fortunately they're aberrations, very uncommon, but when they do police don't forget. They're going to keep going until they find their man and that's what we see here."

Sanders says connecting Weir to the abduction was a collaborative effort that involved Boone County law enforcement, Crestview Hills police, and Covington police officers.

According to a Covington Police report, Weir admitted first to the robbery of the Huntington Bank and then went on to confess to the armed kidnapping in Crestview Hills.

"We didn't have any videotape of the crime itself. We had very limited witnesses, primarily just the victim herself so this was some heavy lifting by the detectives," Sanders said.

Ann Lee Ernst, then 74, was kidnapped from the shopping complex at gunpoint on May 31, 2011. The suspect went through her purse and drove her to Miami Township in Hamilton County, where she was tied up and gagged. She managed to escape and had to walk two miles for help.

Sanders says he expects to have Weir in front of a Grand Jury next week on the kidnapping charge.

Related Stories:

Copyright 2012 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.