LACONIA, N.H. (AP) – Police continue searching for a gunman who robbed two young women during the weekend, then locked them in their car trunk before fleeing.

Ashley Smith, 20, and Meg Hoey, 21, recounted their ordeal for reporters on Monday, saying they thought they were going to be killed.

“Shut up, put your seatbelts on, and drive,” he said, according to Smith.

Smith thought the man might be a friend playing a practical joke, but when he cocked his black handgun, she said, she realized he was serious.

Smith and Hoey, were brave to stay calm and seek help when they were robbed, kidnapped and abandoned in the trunk of Hoey’s car, said Laconia Police Sgt. Al Lessard.

The man jumped into the car Saturday night after the women stopped at a gas station on their drive home from work at an assisted living center.

The gunman ordered Hoey to drive away. They handed over $18, which was the only cash they had. He asked for jewelry, but they had not worn any to work.

Smith said the attacker took her cell phone when it rang, but promised to give it back. When he asked for Hoey’s cell phone, she bluffed and said she did not have one.

“I’m just glad that it didn’t ring,” Hoey said, “because I don’t know what he would have done to me.”

Both women said that they were worried they would be raped or killed.

Smith offered to give him credit cards and her checkbook, she said, but he was not interested. When Hoey said she had a debit card, he told her to drive to her bank. He held a ski jacket over the window in an apparent attempt to hide his identity from the surveillance camera at the ATM, Smith said.

Hoey withdrew about $60 and gave it to the man.

The women thought that he would then release them. But instead, the man told Hoey to pull over. He ordered her to turn off the car, pop open the trunk and step outside, she said.

He also got out. He waved his gun and told them to get into the trunk.

“At that point we started crying, and said, ‘You got what you wanted from us,’ ” Hoey said.

He threatened to shoot, Hoey said, so they climbed into the trunk in fetal positions. He slammed it closed, then drove off with the women inside.

“He was driving like a madman, turning fast,” Hoey said. “It was hell. You didn’t know where you were going. You couldn’t see.”

The two women held hands and prayed, Smith said.

Smith asked Hoey if she had her cell phone. She did. Smith called 911 and said she was in the trunk of her friend’s car while a man with a gun was driving. The car stopped. She hung up. The car moved again. She called back. This cycle continued three or four times, Hoey said, before the car stopped for good behind Robbin’s Auto Parts Store near Mechanic Street.

Smith called again, and the Laconia police rescued them with the help of 911, which pinpointed the car’s location using GPS from the phone’s signal, the police said.

Smith said the sound of the trunk opening was the most joyful noise she had heard in her life.

Information from: Concord Monitor,

AP-ES-02-19-08 1002EST

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