A Gerry man, whose house was found burning Monday when a state trooper went to ask him about a domestic dispute, was charged Tuesday with kidnapping a former girlfriend who had an order of protection against him.
John Venable Jr., 35, of 4629 Route 60 is accused of abducting Renee Ferraloro, 27, of 315 Palmer St. on Monday after she gave him a ride and they argued.
He was arraigned in City Court and taken to Chautauqua County Jail on charges of second-degree kidnapping and first-degree criminal contempt.
The house fire has been labeled arson and is still being investigated, troopers said.
Jamestown Police Detective Capt. Randall Present said the woman had an order of protection against Venable but gave him a ride anyway.
"She was on Third Street about 9 a.m. when he approached her and asked if she would give him a ride to his van, which he said was broken down," Present said. "She was reluctant but said it was raining and she felt sorry for him so she said she would drive him to his van."
The van was parked behind a building on Osmer Street.
"During the ride they got into an argument. It appears that Mr. Venable became enraged, and when she saw the location of the van and his agitated state, she was concerned enough to try to get away from him," Present said.
Ms. Ferraloro got out of her car and tried to run, the captain said, but Venable caught her and threw her into the back of his van, then drove to a remote road in the Town of Ellington. The two were arguing there when a state environmental conservation officer passed by.
State police said the forest ranger reported what he thought was a domestic dispute and after talking with the woman he put her into his car.
Venable drove away before troopers arrived.
When an officer went to Venable's home at about 11:15 a.m. to talk with him, the trooper found flames shooting from under the front door. Gerry and Sinclairville firefighters doused the blaze and confined the fire damage to the living room and kitchen area.
Present said domestic violence victims must be especially careful, even if they have an order of protection.
"My advice would be to trust your senses," he said. "If you feel uncomfortable, then you're going to want to stay away from that person. If you have an order of protection, you need to adhere to that. It's not just the person who is ordered to stay away, but the person who is being protected. In this circumstance, while the victim was trying to do a good deed and felt sorry for him, you can see what the end result was."