EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A New York man has been convicted by a federal jury after officials say he engaged in a violent multi-state crime spree where he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a Hazleton woman.
According to the Hazleton City Police Department, Luis Figueroa, 41, of Bronx, New York, has been convicted for crimes starting in June 2014.
Court documents state on June 6, 2014, Figueroa armed with a shotgun, waited outside the Hazleton apartment of his former girlfriend. When she emerged, Figueroa struck the victim in the face with the shotgun.
As stated in the release, Figueroa then proceeded to physically assault both his former girlfriend and her sister, who at the time was eight months pregnant.
After struggling with the pregnant woman, causing her to fall down a flight of stairs, Figueroa collected the shotgun and led his former girlfriend to a red SUV, forcing her into the backseat, where he drove her across state lines into New Jersey, police say.
According to investigators, after Figueroa assaulted the victim a second time, she convinced him to get rid of the shotgun. As he was doing so the victim climbed into the driver’s seat of the SUV and drove away.
Once Figueroa discovered the car was gone he approached a National Park Service employee. The release said he then slammed the victim’s head against a door and threatened to harm the victim if he did not hand over the keys to his car. The employee gave Figueroa the keys and he fled the scene in the victim’s car.
As stated in the affidavit, Figueroa drove to Paterson, New Jersey, where he entered a used car dealership operated by a person Figueroa had a business relationship.
Figueroa asked an employee for a gas canister, that he filled at a nearby gas station. Figueroa then returned and doused the office with gasoline, police say. The release said Figueroa ignited a match and set the building on fire, engulfing the structure in flames. Figueroa fled the scene in another vehicle.
Investigators discovered Figueroa’s vehicle driving erratically towards the George Washington Bridge heading into New York. Figueroa ignored officers’ leading to a high-speed chase where Figueroa slammed his car into multiple police vehicles, injuring a police officer, police say.
After a short foot pursuit, Figueroa was placed under arrest by officers. His sentencing is scheduled for September 8.
The kidnapping charge and the aggravated sexual abuse charge each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. . The assaulting an employee charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the arson charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.