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Mass. fugitive captured after alleged multi-state crime spree

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- A child rape suspect who police say cut off his monitoring bracelet and went on a violent cross-country crime spree was captured late Tuesday night in upstate New York.

Gregory Lewis, 26, was arrested just before midnight in the Village of Fort Edward, just north of Albany, N.Y.

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 sped away.

The trooper notified local 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.

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.

Massachusetts State Police said Lewis's gun matched the description of the one he's accused of stealing from a relative in Southbridge, Mass. in September.

Durway said in a news conference Wednesday that Lewis had used the gun to rob his victims. He warned victims that if they told police he would come back for them.

Lewis, of Southbridge, Mass., was arrested Aug. 5 in Southbridge and charged with sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. While out on bond in the child rape case, Lewis on Sept. 15 allegedly cut off his court-ordered GPS tracking device, leaving it in the front yard of his alleged victim, and fled.

Lewis is suspected of embarking on a series of violent incidents since then, including alleged rapes, kidnappings and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon, a well as 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 spree.

Durway said Lewis stole license plates off 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 just driving through Fort Edward yesterday, trying to keep a low profile.

He was held without bail overnight at the Washington County, N.Y. 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.