Friday, June 6
NEW YORK (AP) — A man was arrested Friday near the George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey and New York City after an alleged crime spree that began with an abduction in Pennsylvania and included an assault on a national park employee and a fire at a car dealership, authorities said.
Luis Figueroa, 32, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and the Bronx, was arrested about noon Friday, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police.
Figueroa was driving a white Escalade SUV when he struck a Port Authority vehicle near the eastbound bridge toll plaza, continued across the bridge eastbound, then apparently tried to head back west over the bridge and struck another Port Authority vehicle, spokesman Joe Pentangelo said. He was arrested as he tried to flee on foot.
Hours earlier, Figueroa tried to abduct a woman who was eight months pregnant in Hazleton, said police Chief Frank DeAndrea. The woman fled down the street — Figueroa pursuing her with a pump-action shotgun — and began banging on the door of a school bus with two students aboard, begging to be let on, DeAndrea said. The bus driver saw Figueroa and refused to open the door, the chief said.
The suspect then allegedly abducted another woman whom he knew and fled in a minivan.
The pregnant woman was taken to a hospital with injuries, then flown to a second hospital, the chief said.
Figueroa made it to New Jersey with the second woman, and she escaped there after he got out of the minivan to dispose of the shotgun, DeAndrea said, citing information he received from other law enforcement agencies. He said she was flown to a hospital with injuries.
Figueroa then assaulted a national park employee in New Jersey and stole her personal vehicle, DeAndrea said.
Kathleen Sandt, public affairs specialist for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, told the Pocono Record that the employee was assaulted about 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in Warren County.
From there, Figueroa drove to a Cadillac dealership in Patterson, New Jersey, and tried to trade the park employee's vehicle for an Escalade, then assaulted the salesperson, started a fire in the dealership and stole the Escalade, DeAndrea said.
The chief said one of the women in Hazleton had obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Figueroa. He declined to characterize Figueroa's relationship to them, citing the ongoing investigation. He also declined to characterize the nature of their injuries but said neither had been shot.