FORT EDWARD N.Y. – A Massachusetts fugitive arrested late Tuesday evening in the Village of Fort Edward has waived his right to extradition and will be picked up by Massachusetts Police Friday, according to the District Attorney.
Gregory Lewis, a 26-year-old man wanted in connection to a number of charges including rape of a child, robbery and gun charges was taken into police custody Tuesday evening. Police say Lewis made it known that he was the fugitive police were looking for when he was apprehended.
Lewis is being held without bail on a Wanted Fugitive Charge in Washington County Jail. Authorities say they believe he may have more victims. Since he waived his right to an extradition hearing, he will be transported to Massachusetts to face his initial charges.
“It’s what he wanted to do. Absolutely,” Lewis’ public defender Mike Mercure said. “He understood. He understood what was taking place, and he definitely wanted to go back to Massachusetts.”
“The one issue that still a little bit in flux is that we’re continuing to look at in discussions between ourselves and Worcester is how and when will he answer to the charges here,” Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said. “We have to balance our interests here with those of Massachusetts, which includes a 13-year-old vulnerable victim.”
According to the Massachusetts State Police, Lewis is the accused serial rapist who committed a number of crimes in different states, including Massachusetts and Colorado. Police say he allegedly began by sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl in Southbridge and then taking off on a cross country crime spree.
Police say Lewis had been on the run for several weeks after cutting off his GPS monitoring bracelet. Officials say a New York State Trooper spotted Lewis driving a car without a license plate, and that’s when the search began. Lewis fled into Fort Edward Village and patrol units searched for the suspect vehicle.
A short time later, police got a call that a vehicle crashed into a river in Fort Edward. Preliminary reports indicate that Lewis emerged from his sinking vehicle and pulled a gun on a witness who had heard the crash. That witness called 911 and Lewis fled into the woods.
They say he was tracked down by K9 officer Nass in a wooded area near Old Fort Street in Fort Edward.
According to police, officers recovered the gun from Lewis. They say the gun matched the description of the weapon police say Lewis stole from a family member back in September.
Police said Lewis pointed the gun at Ford Edward resident Chris Diehl who attempted to assist Lewis after the crash. Jordan said he spoke with Diehl about the extradition.
“The individual that is really a hero here, who went down to the river to help him and pull him out of the river had a loaded handgun pointed at him and those are very serious charges,” Jordan said. “His concern was for his family and for this girl; very little concern for himself. And I think he really looked at it as ‘I didn’t do anything that anyone else wouldn’t do.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’ve set in motion ability for this guy to be held accountable for the horrors he’s done.”
The vehicle he was driving, while still underwater, roughly matches the description of the blue Jeep Grand Cherokee he has been believed to be driving during a spree of alleged rapes, kidnappings and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado, and Oregon and an alleged armed robbery of an escort in Indianapolis.
He was also believed to have been in Idaho, Utah, and Ohio during his alleged violent spree. Police have had intelligence suggesting he was returning east, perhaps to Massachusetts, where he allegedly raped a 13-year-old Southbridge girl during the late summer.
Authorities say he was traveling through Schenectady, switching out license plates on cars similar to his blue Jeep Cherokee.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Massachusetts State Police say he made statements that “his ultimate goal was to come back and kill the victim of his original charge, so he was very close to the Massachusetts border.”
Officers have released a timeline of his travels to multiple law enforcement agencies, and authorities anticipate further victims coming forward.
Police in Massachusetts say that unlike most suspects on the run, Lewis “became emboldened, more aggressive and he acted basically the opposite.”
Jordan said depending on how things play out in Massachusetts, the other states in which Lewis is alleged to have committed crimes could line up to prosecute him next.