NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The suspect arrested in connection with a series of armed carjackings in Queens is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Elmhurst Hospital Friday, sources told CBS 2.
Nicolas Almonte, 27, is charged with multiple counts of robbery, attempted robbery and unlawful imprisonment. He’s accused of stealing three vehicles, robbing a man and attempting to rob two others at gunpoint.
Almonte is expected to be arraigned next week, sources said.
Police said the carjacking spree began at 9:37 a.m. Thursday. Police said Almonte took a woman’s Mercedes at gunpoint and drove her around for several minutes before she managed to jump out in the area of Thompson Avenue and Vandam Street.
Almonte ditched the Mercedes, which police later recovered, and fled, police said. That’s when he tried to take a Ford Econoline van, but was unsuccessful, police said.
Then around 10 a.m., Almonte stole a Lexus in the same area as Thompson Avenue and Vandam Street before abandoning it shortly after, police said. Police found the car nearby at 38th Street and Hunters Point Avenue.
Less than 10 minutes later, a woman said she was walking her dog near 50th Avenue and 39th Street when Almonte demanded her keys, police said. He ran off when she told him she didn’t have any keys, police said.
Around 10:20 a.m., police said Almonte stole cash from a truck driver at gunpoint and then fled on foot.
At 10:30 a.m., Almonte stole money and 1996 Gold Mercedes C280 near 39th Street and Greenpoint Avenue, police said.
The victim, a 55-year-old man, had just left Steve Massis’ auto body shop.
“Soon as he opened the door, he held up to him the gun and said ‘give me the money,'” Massis, said.
That car has not yet been recovered.
Almonte was finally caught Thursday evening in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Many people who know Almonte said he’s hard working.
“I saw him this morning very happy, he was working,” one person said.
Almonte works at a scaffolding company.
But one longtime neighbor said Almonte is on medication to control mood swings.
“Normally he’s a nice person. Like I said, when he’s taking his pills, [he’s a] beautiful heart person,” Esteban Tineo said. “But when he’s not on it, you’ve got to watch out.”
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