Last Thursday a man allegedly terrorized his home neighborhood of Long Island City, stealing cars and money while wielding a gun that wasn’t all that it seemed.
Police briefly closed down part of Borden Avenue in their pursuit of the suspect. About eight hours later they arrested Nicolas Almonte, 27, who lives on Borden Avenue.
He was charged in a 10-count criminal complaint with five counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree attempted robbery, three counts of second-degree robbery and one count of unlawful imprisonment, according toQueens District Attorney Richard Brown. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
At the time of Almonte’s arrest, police allegedly recovered a black BB gun from him and a fluorescent orange construction vest.
“The defendant is accused of terrifying the Long Island City community by walking up to vehicles and pedestrians and demanding their property while pointing a weapon at them,” Brown said. “Fortunately, the gun turned out to be a BB gun and nobody was physically injured. However, that does not negate the fear that he instilled in them or the fact that the defendant now faces the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence.”
The spree began at 9:30 a.m. when Almonte stole, while holding the BB gun, a black Mercedes sports car from a woman at 21-27 Borden Ave., police said. He allegedly forced his victim to drive over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan and then back to Queens, all the while holding the gun to her head, Brown said. She fled at a stoplight and he allegedly then vacated the Mercedes, which was later recovered.
At 10 a.m., he attempted to open the driver’s side door of a white van, according to Brown. Allegedly when he couldn’t, he entered through the passenger side. Brown said Almonte pointed a gun at the driver and demanded that he get out of the van and leave his cell phone. The victim allegedly observed Almonte take the phone, exit the van and approach a grey Lexus.
“Get out of the car or I’ll blow your [expletive deleted] head off,” Almonte allegedly screamed at the Lexus driver, who quickly exited throwing his phone on the ground, Brown said.
Almonte allegedly climbed into the vehicle and drove off. Officers found the car a short time later at 38th Street and Hunters Point Avenue.
A couple minutes later a woman who was walking her dog said that a man yanked her keys out her pocket at 50th Avenue and 30th Street, but the suspect, allegedly Almonte, fled after the woman said that those were not the keys to her car.
At 10:20 a.m. the suspect stole $50 from a truck driver and then ran off on foot. Ten minutes later an armed man wearing a fluorescent orange construction vest allegedly stole a gold Mercedes sedan, police said.
Employees at National Sign & Lighting, a couple blocks from where the first car was taken, said at 1 p.m., “He’s still running around, but what rumors have you heard?”
The New York Times reported Almonte took medicine for bipolar disorder.