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Man sentenced to 43 years in prison for multi-state kidnapping, assault and arson rampage

NEW JERSEY – A Bronx, New York, man was sentenced Monday to 516 months in prison for a multi-state crime spree during which he kidnapped and sexually assaulted his former girlfriend, assaulted a federal employee, set fire to a used car dealership, and rammed multiple police vehicles before being apprehended, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Luis Figueroa, 42, was convicted in May 2022 of kidnapping, criminal sexual abuse, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and assaulting an employee of the United States following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez, Sellinger said.

Figueroa had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon and arson. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence Monday in Newark federal court, Sellinger said.

“Figueroa is a danger to the public,” Sellinger said. “Figueroa deliberately engaged in a premeditated crime spree to extract revenge on the mother of his son. Fueled with anger, he kidnapped, assaulted and raped her. Along the way, he assaulted a federal employee, stole his car, burned down a car dealership office and endangered law enforcement officers and members of the public who were in his way. We are committed to protecting the community from  such violent criminals and bringing them to justice.”

“ATF will never waver in our commitment to protecting the communities we serve and public safety,” Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said. “Figueroa was undoubtedly a clear and present danger to the community with his willingness to engage in this lawless behavior and commit these malicious, criminal, and violent acts. I am proud of the collaborative efforts and successful partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and our local and state partners involved in this investigation and prosecution. Justice has been served with this sentence and reflects ATF’s commitment to hold violent offenders accountable.”

According to court documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial, on the morning of June 6, 2014, Figueroa, armed with a shotgun, waited outside the Hazleton, Pennsylvania, apartment of his former girlfriend. When she emerged from the apartment, Figueroa struck the victim in the face with the shotgun and said: “I told you I was going to kill you.”

Figueroa then proceeded to physically assault both the former girlfriend and her sister, who, at the time, was eight months pregnant. As Figueroa attacked the women, another family member took Figueroa’s and the ex-girlfriend’s young child into a bedroom to shield the child from the violence.

After struggling with the pregnant woman and causing her to fall down a flight of stairs, Figueroa collected the shotgun from the apartment and led his former girlfriend to a red SUV, where he forced her into the backseat. Figueroa then drove the victim across state lines to New Jersey.

Figueroa eventually stopped at the Kittatinny Point Visitor’s Center in Hardwick Township Warren County, which is located on federal property, and sexually assaulted his former girlfriend.

After the assault, the victim convinced Figueroa to dispose of the shotgun. When Figueroa went to do so, the former girlfriend climbed into the driver’s seat of the red SUV and drove away to safety.

After returning and discovering both his former girlfriend and the red SUV were no longer there, Figueroa approached a National Park Service employee, and led the employee to a nearby storage room, where he 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 complied and Figueroa fled the scene in the victim’s car.

Figueroa drove to Paterson where he entered a used car dealership operated by a person with whom Figueroa had a business relationship. Figueroa asked an employee for a portable gas canister, which he filled shortly thereafter at a nearby gas station, and then returned to the dealership and doused the office with gasoline. After a brief struggle with an employee, Figueroa ignited a match and set the building on fire, engulfing the structure in flames and setting himself on fire in the process. Figueroa then fled the scene in another vehicle.

Law enforcement officers spotted Figueroa’s vehicle driving erratically towards the George Washington Bridge heading into New York. Figueroa ignored officers’ commands to stop, leading to a high-speed chase in which Figueroa rammed his vehicle into multiple police vehicles, injuring a police officer. Figueroa then got out of his vehicle and fled on foot. Officers placed Figueroa under arrest shortly thereafter.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Figueroa to five years of supervised release, Sellinger said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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