It’s easy to hide in New York City if you stay out of trouble.
That was the message a felon who police have been seeking for more than four years had for investigators who finally tracked him down this week in an apartment in Brooklyn.
Jermaine Thompson has been on the run since April 2013, when he was allegedly part of a group that robbed drug dealers at gunpoint in a motel on Route 4 in Hampton. The victims retaliated hours later by summoning a crew from Connecticut that shot up two house trailers and a vehicle in Whitehall with a semiautomatic rifle.
The two violent acts, rare in rural Washington County, spawned numerous criminal cases, and the convictions of eight people who were involved in the shooting, robbery and/or drug activity that created the strife between two gang-tied organizations.
State Police knew four men went into Hampton Motel the night of April 11, 2013, but only three were identified. Two were convicted of felonies and sentenced to state prison, but one was never identified.
The fourth was Thompson, who returned to New York City shortly after the robbery, he and his crew fleeing moments before the trailer park shooting when they learned that retaliation was coming.
He has remained on the lam since, despite the efforts of a variety of State Police and New York Police Department investigators who believed he was in New York City. He was on parole for a 2012 felony drug conviction as of April 2013, and absconded from parole, Warren County Assistant District Attorney Travis Brown said.
(The Warren County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the robbery case when appointed as a special prosecutor, because Washington County prosecutors were handling the shooting portion of it.)
Thompson, 25, used the street name “Nino” when he was in the Glens Falls region in 2012-13, but changed his street name to “Main” in recent years, in part to avoid detection from police, authorities said.
State Police did not disclose how they located him in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, but said he knew how to lay low.
“He said, ‘It’s easy to hide in New York City if you stay out of trouble,’” State Police Investigator David Mosher explained.
He pleaded not guilty Thursday to a six-count indictment that includes felony counts of robbery, burglary and conspiracy and lesser counts for the gunpoint theft of money, video game players, a laptop computer, iPhone and a DVD player from people staying in Hampton Motel.
Brown asked Washington County Judge Adam Michelini to jail Thompson without bail, pointing to a criminal record that includes a prior felony drug conviction, a robbery arrest in New York City and a warrant for violating parole. Michelini agreed, directing Thompson to be back in court on Dec. 22.
The defendant’s lawyer, Washington County Public Defender Michael Mercure, said he had no comment on the case Thursday.