One of the victims of a carjacking spree in Queens Thursday details his terrifying encounter with the suspect. Checkey Beckford reports. (Published Friday, May 10, 2013)
Police arrested a 27-year-old armed man who allegedly carjacked three cars, tried to steal a fourth and terrorized two other people during a bizarre spree in less than an hour in Long Island City Thursday morning.
The suspect, Nicolas Almonte, was taken into custody in front of a building on Apollo Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at about 6 p.m. Thursday after someone called police to report a suspicious man, a law enforcement official said. One of the cars he allegedly stole was found nearby.
Almonte was charged early Friday with five counts of armed robbery, three counts of robbery involving a motor vehicle, attempted robbery and unlawful imprisonment. Information on an attorney wasn't immediately available.
The suspect allegedly told the arresting officers that he was carrying a pellet gun and a few dollars and wanted to speak to his sister, according to a law enforcement official.
The crime spree began at about 9:40 a.m. Thursday in Long Island City, when the suspect allegedly approached a woman driving a black 2006 Mercedes on Borden Avenue and forced his way into the car, police said. He drove her around for several minutes before she was able to flee near Queens Plaza.
Almonte allegedly then fled the Mercedes and tried to steal a 2006 Ford Econoline van, but failed. About 20 minutes later, he's accused of taking a gray 2007 Lexus and abandoning it nearby.
Then he allegedly tried to steal car keys from a woman walking her dog, but fled when she insisted she had no car keys. He then allegedly robbed a truck driver on Hunters Point Avenue and fled on foot, police say, before approaching the driver of a 1996 gold Mercedes and taking it at gunpoint around 10:30 a.m.
Robert Plevy, the third person to be carjacked, said he believed he was going to be shot.
"There was a man standing there with a gun pointed directly into my face saying, 'Get out of the car, I'm going to blow your brains out,'" Plevy said.
Plevy said another carjacking victim relayed to him that the suspect "said he had a dream and was ordered by God to kill Pablo Escobar and the New York City Police Department."
Coworkers said the suspect is a night watchman for a nearby company, Swing Staging.
Sources tell NBC 4 New York that the suspect may have had a fight with his girlfriend, sparking the wild spree.
The girlfriend told police he stormed out of the house after the fight, threatening to shoot cops.
Police recovered the pellet gun when they took the suspect into custody.