Sunday, July 5, 2015

N.Y. man charged in N.J. with daylong rampage that began in Pa.

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A New York man made an initial appearance in a New Jersey federal court Tuesday for an alleged three-state rampage that prosecutors say included the kidnapping and rape of a Pennsylvania woman in June.

The chaos allegedly perpetuated by Luis Figueroa, 33, began in the morning of June 6 in Luzerne County, Pa., and ended hours later in a crash on the George Washington Bridge, according to the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

Figueroa, of the Bronx, N.Y., allegedly waited for a former girlfriend outside her home, and when she came out the front door shortly before 8 a.m., struck her with the butt of a shotgun, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

He also allegedly chased and attacked a relative of hers before forcing his ex into his sport utility vehicle, prosecutors said.

He entered New Jersey on Interstate 80 and during the drive allegedly forced the woman to perform a sex act on him while at one point saying he was going to kill her and then himself, prosecutors said.

His alleged victim was able to escape during more bizarre behavior by Figueroa when he pulled into the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. At the rest stop, Figueroa first allegedly raped the woman.

Then he twice left the victim alone in the SUV to dispose of his shotgun ammunition and the shotgun itself, prosecutors said. During his second trip to a nearby wooded area, the victim escaped in the SUV.

That's when Figueroa allegedly attacked a federal park ranger and stole the ranger's minivan. He next stopped in Paterson, N.J., at a used-car dealership whose owner leased Figueroa property. Several days earlier, the dealership owner had issued Figueroa a notice of eviction.

Figueroa allegedly managed to leave the car dealership, borrow a portable gas container, fill it with gasoline at a nearby station, and return to the dealership. He then set the car dealership on fire, prosecutors allege.

Figueroa allegedly fled once again, this time in a white SUV, but by this time had attracted plenty of attention by law enforcement agencies across the region. He was spotted on a nearby highway, allegedly ignored officers' commands to pull over, and led police on a high-speed chase to the George Washington Bridge, where his day ended in a crash.

He is charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, assaulting an employee of the United States, arson, and various firearms counts. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.


Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or bmccrone@philly.com. Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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