Providence man arrested, attempted three crimes in one hour

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Providence man faces several charges for attempting to commit three crimes in the span of one hour, according to Providence Police.

Joseph Thompson, 48, of Providence, was arrested Saturday night following the string of crimes.

According to reports Eyewitness News obtained from Providence Police, the first crime occurred at the “Save A Lot” store on Branch Avenue. Thompson entered the store around 10 p.m. on Saturday, and demanded money from a cashier. Even when he showed a gun to the cashier, the employee refused to give him money. Thompson then fled the store.

(Providence Police Department photo)

But, he wasn’t done there.

Reports indicate Thompson then made a stop at the Cumberland Farms location at 725 Branch Avenue, where he met Anthony Sionni – an Uber driver who had just finished his route for the night.

Sionni said he was pumping gas when Thompson approached him. The suspect asked Sionni for a ride, since his car had allegedly broken down in the parking lot. Sionni agreed, and Thompson got into the passenger seat of his white Acura.

But then, “He pulled a gun on me and put it in my face,” Sionni said. “He said he was going to kill me if I didn’t give him my money.”

Sionni said he didn’t have any money at the time, so he instinctively decided to find a way out of the car. He was able to jump out and call police, but Thompson fled the scene with his car.

Police reports detail Thompson’s next and final crime – an armed robbery at a Providence restaurant.

According to the report, officers were dispatched to 420 Cranston Street – Choi Restaurant – around 10:40 p.m. for a report of a robbery at gun point. Upon arrival, the restaurant owners described the suspect as a man matching Thompson’s description. They said he walked up to the counter, grabbed one of the owners by the shirt, and pointed a gun. The owner opened the cash register, and the suspect made off with between $400 and $500.

Following the armed robbery, officers were informed the suspect in the three crimes may have been the same man. Police then spotted a white Acura, with Sionni’s plates, driving on Westminster Street. They stopped the car and arrested Thompson, who was positively identified as the suspect in all three crimes.

Because of this crime spree, Thompson faces charges of assault with intent to commit a felony, larceny/auto theft, and robbery in the first degree.

According to the report, Thompson will be arraigned in District Court on Tuesday.

Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements told Eyewitness News this was a “great arrest.”

Sionni said he is thankful for the swift work of the Providence Police Department. “I think they did an awesome job in apprehending the suspect so quick.”

Monday, workers at both Save A Lot and Choi’s declined to comment to Eyewitness News.

Court records indicate that Thompson previously plead nolo to charges of robbery in 1998 and charges of robbery and assault in 2004. ACI records show he was released on the 2004 charges in 2013.