After surprising family and friends by eloping in Las Vegas 10 years ago, Massachusetts couple Joseph and Jenny Carrier settled into seemingly ordinary lives that revolved around work, friends, their dogs, and shared interests in bowling and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But at some point they allegedly started using drugs, and on Monday, after a monthlong search by police, the so-called “Bonnie and Clyde” couple were arrested and charged with a slew of bank robberies along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Florida.
They were apprehended near Philadelphia International Airport following a high-speed chase on I-95 involving Delaware and Pennsylvania State Police. The chase began after the couple allegedly robbed a bank in Wilmington, Delaware, shortly after noon on Monday.
Prior to that, according to Ludlow Police Sergeant Louis Tulik, the couple allegedly stole more than $4,000 from a bank in Ludlow, Massachusetts, on Sept. 28; $730 from a bank in West Sadsbury, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 9; about $500 from a bank in Palm Coast, Florida, on Oct. 12; and about $5,000 from a bank in Aberdeen, Md., on Oct. 16; and more than $2,400 from Monday’s alleged robbery in Delaware.
Tulik tells PEOPLE that Joseph Carrier would enter a bank, say that he had a firearm, and ask for large bills. Jenny Carrier would wait in the car and be the getaway driver, he says.
Joseph Carrier’s stepfather says that family, friends, and associates were in “disbelief” over the couple’s alleged actions.
“They are normal people who had normal lives and jobs before all of this. None of this seems real,” Joseph Alves told PEOPLE. “We saw a change in him this summer and we knew he had a problem, but my stepson told me he was taking care of it on his own and he had it under control.”
Alves says that he and his wife, Linda, do not know what triggered the couple’s drug use.
Joseph Carrier worked in retail, most recently for Lowe’s, and Jenny Carrier worked for several years at a car dealership in Hanover, Mass., until one day in August when she called in sick and never returned to work. Cops say she stole a car from the dealership, which is believed to be the getaway car used in the bank robberies.
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Police Sergeant: ‘They Both Came from Good, Supportive Families’
Until a few years ago, the couple, both 37, belonged to a bowling league in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in the western part of the state where they were living.
“He was an excellent bowler,” Alves says of his stepson. “He scored six perfect games.”
For several years before the alleged robbery spree, the couple lived with Jenny’s aunt, Dorothy Goode, in Quincy, a city just south of Boston.
But according to Sgt. Tulik, the couple was asked to leave Goode’s house because of their alleged drug use. Subsequently, Tulik says, they stayed with friends and at motels in the western part of Massachusetts, where they both were raised.
“They both came from good, supportive families, and other than one larceny charge – possibly for shoplifting – two years ago, didn’t have any run-ins with the law,” Tulik says. “They both became addicted to heroin and would do anything to feed that addiction. Unfortunately, they chose robbing banks.”
On the day of their capture, the Carriers’ allegedly stolen 2012 Buick Encore crashed into several cruisers, disabling their vehicle. There were no injuries to the people involved, but only six of the couple’s seven dogs all Brussels Griffons who were in the car with them were found uninjured. A seventh dog ran from the car and, as of Tuesday night, had not been found. The family of dogs, which included a mother, father, and four of the five 1-year-old pups, were taken to a shelter by animal control officers.
The Carriers are being held in a federal detention center in Philadelphia, and a detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday. They have not yet entered a plea.