FORT EDWARD, NY (CBS) – A Southbridge rape suspect who allegedly committed crimes across the country after cutting off his GPS monitoring bracelet had plans to return to Massachusetts and kill his first victim, police said at a Wednesday press conference.
Southbridge resident Gregory Lewis, 26, was arrested Tuesday before midnight in the Village of Fort Edward, just north of Albany. Police say Lewis cut off his monitoring bracelet and went on a cross-country crime spree before he was captured.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
Massachusetts State Police said more charges are likely against Lewis, and added that additional victims will likely step forward as well now that he is in custody.
“I don’t know that he ever had a plan,” said Massachusetts State Police Detective Lt. Mike Farley at a Wednesday news conference.
“I think it was almost a spur of the moment type of thing, but I don’t think I can speculate on his mentality or his state of mind. It was almost like he had nothing to lose, it was his last hoorah and he was going to go out and do as much damage as possible for as long as he could.”
During Wednesday’s press conference, Massachusetts officers said Lewis made multiple statements that he planned to return to Massachusetts and kill his first victim, the child he allegedly raped.
Southbridge Deputy Police Chief Shane Woodson said the family of Lewis’ first alleged victim is relieved by the fugitive’s capture.
“I think it’s obvious they were extremely relieved. It’s been a long road for them from Sept. 15 to today, that’s for sure,” said Woodson.
Police say a New York State Trooper spotted Lewis driving with a missing license plate on his Jeep Grand Cherokee. When the trooper tried to pull him over, Lewis drove off into Fort Edward Village, which is about 50 miles northwest of Massachusetts.
The trooper notified two Fort Edward Village patrol units and a short time later, police received 911 calls reporting that a vehicle had crashed into the Hudson River.
“He actually drove to the end of a dead end street and didn’t realize it was a dead end and drove down an embankment and into the water,” Fort Edward Police Chief Justin Durway told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Police say Lewis got out of the sinking car and then pulled a handgun on a witness who went to help him after the crash.Ex-Boston Officer Patrick Rose Stayed On Force Despite Abuse Allegation
Lewis then ran off, but Durway said a police K-9 tracked him down in the woods. Lewis told officers he had dropped his gun and he surrendered.
Massachusets State Police said Lewis’s gun matched the description of the one he’s accused of stealing from a relative in Southbridge in September.
Durway said in a news conference Wednesday that Lewis had used the gun to rob his victims and warned them if they told police he would come back for them.
“The vehicle he was driving, while still underwater, roughly matches the description of the blue Jeep Grand Cherokee he has been believed to be driving during a spree of alleged rapes, kidnappings and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado, and Oregon and an alleged armed robbery of an escort in Indianapolis,” state police said in a statement early Wednesday.
Investigators say Lewis was also spotted in Idaho, Utah, and Ohio during his violent spree.
Durway said Lewis was stealing license plates off of vehicles similar to his Jeep Cherokee during the manhunt to avoid capture.
Earlier this week, police said they had intelligence suggesting Lewis was returning east, perhaps to Massachusetts, where he allegedly raped a 13-year-old girl in Southbridge during the late summer.
Durway said that it appears Lewis was in Fort Edward Wednesday just driving through town trying to keep a low profile.
He was held without bail overnight at the Washington County jail and will be arraigned Wednesday as a fugitive from justice.
Massachusetts authorities say they will seek his rendition to stand trial for the sexual assault of the Southbridge girl.
Lewis had been on the run since Sept. 15, when police say he cut off his GPS bracelet and fled Massachusetts. Before he took off, police say he left that bracelet in the front yard of the child he is accused of raping. Police are now protecting that child.
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