A Massachusetts child rape suspect who authorities say cut off a court-ordered GPS monitoring device and went on a cross-country crime spree has been captured in New York after more than a month on the lam, police said Wednesday.
Gregory Lewis, 26, of Southbridge, was caught late Tuesday in the village of Fort Edward after driving into the Hudson River while fleeing from a traffic stop, said David Procopio, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman.
He is expected to be arraigned in New York on Wednesday on a fugitive charge. It’s unclear when he'll be returned to Massachusetts.
Lewis was arraigned Aug. 6 on charges including statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. He was released on $1,000 bail and ordered to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. But police say he removed the bracelet Sept. 15 and fled, but returned to his parents’ home 10 days later and assaulted a relative before taking a gun and leaving again.
On Tuesday night, a New York state trooper spotted a vehicle without a front license plate and attempted to pull it over, but it took off. The trooper alerted local police.
Shortly afterward, police got a 911 call reporting that a vehicle had crashed into the 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-AM.
Neal Orsini, owner of a nearby restaurant, said he and his patrons saw the vehicle pass by, heard it crash into the water and ran out to help.
‘‘He flew down this one-way street and went right down the bank and into the river,’’ Orsini said.
Lewis emerged from his sinking vehicle and brandished a gun at a witness, Procopio said.
He was apprehended a short time later with the help of a canine unit and without shots being fired.
Procopio said the vehicle Lewis was driving Tuesday roughly matches the description of the blue 2004 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.
Lewis is suspected of sexual assaults and other crimes in several states while on the run, including Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon. The New York community in which he was caught is about 50 miles northwest of Massachusetts.
The following are social media reports about the arrest:
Fugitive accused rapist GREGORY LEWIS has been arrested in Fort Edward, NY. DEVELOPING. More info to be released when available.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
Arrest of accused fugitive rapist GREGORY LEWIS made in Fort Edward Village NY, a village upstate near Vermont border.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
LEWIS arrested by NYSP trooper & Fort Edward Village officers after he drove into river while trying to evade capture.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
NYSP trooper had tried to stop LEWIS vehicle reportedly for missing plate. Suspect fled into Fort Edward Village and crashed into water.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
Resident heard crash into river. Preliminary reports indicate LEWIS exited vehicle and brandished gun. Tpr & officers nearby, converge.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
Thank you to the MSP's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, which helped lead the GREGORY LEWIS manhunt around the clock.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
We also thank our partners who helped bring this to a successful close: Southbridge PD, police in NC, Colo., Ore., Indiana, US Marshals...— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 29, 2014
Associated Press writer Chris Carola in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.