By Karen Frantz
Police were hunting for an armed Queens man who went on a carjacking spree in the borough Thursday after acquaintances said he had been acting odd the last few days.
The NYPD was asking the public’s help in locating the suspect, Nicolas Almonte, 27, who is wanted for questioning, and said anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or submit tips online at nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
The suspect allegedly carjacked several vehicles in Long Island City starting around 9:30 a.m., according to police, who said he allegedly took a black Mercedes from a woman near Borden Street and 21st Street – a mere block and a half away from where acquaintances said Almonte lives.
He allegedly drove around for several minutes with the woman in the car, but she was able to flee at Queens Plaza without injury, police said.
The suspect then allegedly went on to carjack at least three cars, attempt unsuccessfully to carjack several others and steal money from a truck driver within the course of an hour, police said.
Police said there were no injuries.
“Nobody’s killed, nobody’s hurt,” an officer said.
All the cars were recovered except for a Gold Mercedes that was stolen from a man around 10:30 a.m. at 39th Street and Greenpoint Avenue, police said.
A man who declined to give his name said he worked with Almonte at Swing Staging, a scaffolding company, and said he heard he had been on medication and that up until a week ago he seemed to be doing fine.
But he said that over the last few days some people said Almonte had been acting strangely and had been having problems with his girlfriend.
“I heard they were having constant arguments,” he said.
He said he was not surprised to hear that Almonte may have snapped, but he was surprised it was with a weapon.
“The fact that he had a gun, that’s disturbing,” he said.
A woman who answered the phone at Swing Staging said the company had no comment.
Police said the suspect was still at large as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4548.