BOSTON (AP) — A man suspected of child-rape and committing crimes across the country after snipping off his court-ordered ankle bracelet had an “ultimate goal” of returning to Massachusetts to kill his 13-year-old accuser, state police said Wednesday, hours after he was captured in New York.
Police said Gregory Lewis, 26, of Southbridge, spent six weeks on the run after cutting off the GPS monitoring device ordered by a judge following his arraignment in August on charges that included statutory rape of a child.
Lewis is suspected of committing a string of rapes, kidnappings and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon.
“It was almost like he had nothing to lose. It was his last hurrah, and he was going to go out and do as much damage as he possibly could,” said Detective Lt. Michael Farley, commander of the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section.
Police said Lewis told multiple people he planned to return to Massachusetts.
“He had made statements that his ultimate goal was to come back and kill the victim from his original charge,” Farley said.
Lewis was captured late Tuesday in the village of Fort Edward after driving into the Hudson River while fleeing from a traffic stop.
Lewis was arraigned Wednesday in New York on a fugitive charge. A hearing will be held later to determine when Lewis will be extradited to Massachusetts, said Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan. He will be assigned a lawyer at that point, or he can hire his own.
Massachusetts State Police released a timeline of Lewis’ travel, based on witness statements and other evidence. The timeline shows him fleeing Massachusetts on Sept. 15, then traveling to Connecticut. On Sept. 21, he was confirmed to be in Russell Springs, Kentucky.
According to police, Lewis kidnapped, robbed and assaulted a woman he met online at a hotel Sept. 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two days later, police say, he went to his stepfather’s home in Southbridge, where he tied up, handcuffed and assaulted him and left with a 9mm handgun with over 200 rounds of ammunition.
From there, he traveled to Connecticut, Colorado and Kansas, police said.
Police say he raped and robbed a female escort at a motel in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 4. The next day, he assaulted a female escort at a hotel in Denver, police said.
From there, he traveled to Portland, Oregon, where he assaulted a female escort, police said. Authorities say he also raped and robbed female escorts in Salt Lake City; Westminster, Colorado; and Indianapolis. His previous last spotting was Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
On Tuesday, a New York state trooper tried to pull over a vehicle that was missing a front license plate, but the vehicle took off and soon crashed into a 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 Derway told WBZ-AM.
Restaurant owner Neal Orsini said he heard the vehicle crash and ran out to help.
Lewis emerged from his sinking vehicle and brandished a gun, said Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio. He was apprehended with the help of a canine unit and without shots being fired.
Procopio said the vehicle Lewis was driving roughly matches the description of the blue Jeep Grand Cherokee that had been stolen from his family. A firearm recovered from Lewis also matches the description of the gun he is accused of stealing from a family member, Procopio said.
Associated Press writer Chris Carola in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.