Local News

Phone app helps NYC officers apprehend suspect in Raleigh crime spree

Posted September 2, 2015 7:41 a.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2015 7:13 p.m. EDT

— New York City police officers used a mobile phone app to help apprehend a Wake Forest man wanted in a homicide, a rape and two robberies in Raleigh on Monday.

Kendrick Keyanti Gregory, of 8327 Bratt Ave., was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon by officers from New York City’s 1st Precinct.

Officers Andrew Vlasaty, Erik Skoglund and Adam Riddick responded to a report of a stolen car at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. A 55-year-old woman said someone took her 2014 Honda Pilot, which she had left running with the keys inside outside a Manhattan bank.

Officers learned that the Pilot could be located via Linxup, an app that tapped into the SUV's GPS. When they downloaded the app, they saw that the Pilot was traveling over the Brooklyn Bridge.

The officers caught up with the SUV and pulled it over. Gregory was taken into custody without incident.

Two .45-caliber handguns were discovered during the arrest, one in Gregory’s pocket and one underneath the driver’s seat, police said. After taking Gregory to the 1st Precinct, authorities learned he was wanted on multiple charges in Raleigh.

"Anytime you have someone who appears to be on a crime spree like this, you worry about, is he going to be able to be taken into custody without incident?" Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Wednesday. "We applaud the work of our law enforcement here locally and also in New York in being able to take him into detention peacefully."

Freeman said her office has spoken with prosecutors in Brooklyn about returning Gregory to North Carolina, but it remains uncertain whether he will fight extradition.

Gregory was charged in New York with grand larceny and two counts of possession of a loaded weapon. In Raleigh, he has been charged with murder, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and first-degree rape.

On Wednesday, it was announce that Gregory would face additional charges in Raleigh stemming from a robbery that occurred just before 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 at International Foods on New Hope Church Road. Raleigh police say Gregory will be charged with one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to investigators, Gregory shot and killed 64-year-old Thomas Melvin Durand at about 7 p.m. Monday at the Mr. Pawn check-cashing shop in the 4600 block of Capital Boulevard. Durand owned the shop.

"I was thrilled that guy is not going to do any more people harm," said Doris Hauer, a friend of Durand. "It's just tragic. It's horrible that someone could go berserk like that."

Hauer called Durand "a sweet and humble guy" who could talk to anyone.

"It was a relief," Willie Smith, another Durand friend, said of Gregory's arrest. "(Durand) didn't deserve this. This guy was nice to everybody."

Shortly after the Mr. Pawn shooting, police say Gregory raped a 15-year-old girl near Oak Forest Drive and Old Wake Forest Road.

Gregory is also charged with robbing and shooting 27-year-old Lenin Alvaringa on Monday morning in the 3800 block of New Bern Avenue. Authorities say he approached Alvaringa from behind outside a motel, shot him in the back and robbed him of cash.

Lucy Velasquez, a motel desk clerk, said she was getting something out of her car when she heard gunshots. She found Alvaringa on the ground and called 911.

"He was, like, asking for help. ... He couldn't talk," Velasquez said. "I got really nervous. I started shaking."

She said she was relieved that Gregory was in custody. "He could have hurt somebody else too," she said.

Alvaringa was taken to WakeMed following the shooting. He survived, but information about his condition has not been released.