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Accused Southbridge child rape fugitive caught in upstate N.Y.

Surveillance photo of Gregory Lewis.Mass. State Police

An accused serial rapist who is among the state's most wanted fugitives has been captured in upstate New York, according to police.

Gregory J. Lewis, 26,was arrested shortly before midnight last night after he tried to flee authorities and crashed his car into a river in Fort Edward, New York, a small community on the Hudson River located near the Vermont border and about 50 miles northwest of Massachusetts.

Lewis is connected to several rapes, kidnappings and robberies of escorts throughout the country. Local prosecutors also allege he raped a 13-year-old Southbridge girl during the late summer. He had fled the commonwealth as that court case was still ongoing.

Police had tried to stop the vehicle because it was missing a license plate, but Lewis fled, ultimately crashing the blue Jeep Grand Cherokee into a river, only to emerge from the sinking vehicle brandishing a gun at a witness. Authorities responding to the crash found Lewis at the scene of the crash and arrested him.

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The handgun found on Lewis, who was placed at the top of the Massachusetts State Police's most wanted list after he fled the state, matches the description of the gun he is accused of stealing from a family member in September.

The Jeep is believed to be the car he used 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 had arranged to several of those escorts at hotels, according to the Massachusetts State Police. Authorities say such victims, once in his hotel room, were usually cuffed, threatened with a gun, robbed and sexually assaulted.

In recent days, police have had intelligence suggesting he was returning east, perhaps to Massachusetts.

Lewis was held without bail overnight at Washington County jail in New York state. He is expected to be arraigned today in that same county as a fugitive from justice.

Police say the investigation into his alleged spree of sexual assaults and other crimes is continuing and state authorities are seeking his rendition so he can stand trial for the alleged sexual assault of the Southbridge girl.

 
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