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Last updated: June 06. 2014 3:06PM - 3576 Views
By - tkellar@civitasmedia.com



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HAZLETON —Authorities said a 33-year-old man from New York who allegedly kidnapped a woman by force from her residence on North Church Street Friday morning was captured after he crashed a stolen Cadillac Escalade on the George Washington Bridge in upper Manhattan.


Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea during a news conference Friday afternoon identified the suspect as Luis Figueroa. DeAndrea was joined at the news conference by Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, Hazleton School District superintendent Francis Antonelli and Hazleton mayor Joseph Yannuzzi.


Court records list Figueroa’s address as Walter Avenue, Bronx, N.Y.


According to DeAndrea, Hazleton police responded to 149 N. Church St. at about 8:30 a.m. after a man armed with a shotgun attempted to abduct a pregnant woman.


DeAndrea said the pregnant woman ran out of the house and flagged down a passing school bus. The bus driver allegedly told authorities a man covered in blood and armed with a shotgun emerged from the North Church Street house.


The two children inside the house were unharmed.


A second adult female was allegedly abducted by Figueroa and managed to escape somewhere in the Poconos. She was flown to an area hospital as was the pregnant woman, Salavantis said.


DeAndrea said Figueroa drove to Patterson, New Jersey, where he allegedly had stolen the Cadillac SUV.


Figueroa allegedly crashed the SUV into two Port Authority police vehicles as he sped across the George Washington Bridge at about noon. Figueroa struck a police SUV at the toll plaza in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and continued east across the bridge before crashing into a Port Authority police cruiser in Washington Heights, according to WABC in New York.


Figueroa was found with burns on his arms and torso, and was taken to Cornell Medical Center in New York. The two Port Authority police officers were taken to Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck for minor injuries, WABC reported on its website.


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