For more than a day, career criminal Gregory B. “Pop” Moore eluded a massive manhunt as cops searched by air, on the ground and with dogs for the man accused of violent carjackings, killing and domestic violence.
On Wednesday afternoon, with the net tightening around Moore, FBI agents found him in a car with another person at a West Palm Beach Tri-Rail station. Moore, his alleged accomplice, and another person were taken into custody without incident.
Moore, 35, is expected to appear in Broward County federal court on Thursday.
“The streets of South Florida are safer this evening,” said FBI Special Agent Mike Leverock.
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Moore is accused of engineering an hour-long crime spree Tuesday that paralyzed a swath of Broward County for most of the day. The search forced the closing of two of the county’s busiest thoroughfares, Hallandale Beach and Broward boulevards, and the lockdown of five area public schools. Already busy Interstate 95 in Broward also became a parking lot until late in the afternoon.
Between 8 and 9 a.m. Tuesday, Moore was suspected of committing three carjackings at gunpoint, a car crash, the shooting death of a man, and the shooting of Moore’s estranged girlfriend. She remained in critical condition Wednesday at an area hospital after having surgery.
Less than 36 hours before Tuesday’s rampage, police had Moore in custody. On Sunday night, he posted a $2,500 bond and walked free.
“Our officers drew down on him. He willingly threw his hands up,” Lauderhill Police Maj. Rick Rocco said Wednesday.
Lauderhill police were alerted to Moore when his name popped up as a suspect in a shooting late Saturday or early Sunday. Police didn’t move on Moore after the victim clammed up, they said.
“Our victim, unfortunately, became extremely uncooperative with our police officers,” Lauderhill Police Lt. Greg Solowsky said.
A few hours later, Moore’s name again caught the attention of police, this time during a domestic disturbance call shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday. A woman called police complaining her boyfriend had beaten her and asked them to remove him from the couple’s Lauderhill apartment.
When officers arrived at the apartment on Northwest 56th Avenue, they were greeted by a woman who told them that Moore — whom she referred to as “Pop” — was asleep in the main bedroom. As they entered the bedroom, they reported seeing a .38-caliber Taurus revolver tucked into the shirtless Moore’s waistband.
Startled by the presence of police and by his girlfriend calling his name, Moore at first reached for his weapon, according to a police report. He retreated when officers drew their weapons and identified themselves.
“He put his hands above his head and spontaneously uttered, ‘I’m sorry, officer, I’ve been to prison. I don’t want any trouble,’” Lauderhill Police Officer Everton Weeks wrote in the incident report.
Moore was arrested and charged with possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. He was booked into Broward County Jail at 9:22 a.m. Sunday.
By 7:44 p.m., he was back on the street. Broward state attorney spokesman Ron Ishoy said Moore was released on a “routine scheduled convenience bond.”
The name of Moore’s girlfriend was redacted from the Lauderhill police incident report. Lauderhill police also refused to provide information on the shooting before the domestic incident, calling it an open investigation.
Only 36 hours after his release from jail, Moore would be blamed for Tuesday’s crime spree.
Moore, 35, has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1997. He spent several years in prison on aggravated battery, burglary, illegal weapons and robbery charges. He also has been arrested various times for drug possession.
On Tuesday, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force — consisting of federal agents and police officers from Miami-Dade and Broward counties — searched for Moore by air, on foot, and with the help of dogs.
Police said Moore’s rampage began at 8 a.m. Tuesday when he pulled a gun and carjacked a woman taking her son to school on Sunrise Boulevard. He ordered her to head toward I-95. Moore let them go and ditched the car, then carjacked a Chevrolet Silverado that he drove to the Riemer Insurance Group Office on Hallandale Beach Boulevard.
He looked for his estranged girlfriend there, but didn’t find her. Soon, police said, she showed up with another man in a red Chevrolet.
Moore fired into the car, police said, killing the man, but not before he staggered to a nearby medical center. He dragged the injured woman out of the car and beat her, police said.
Police haven’t named the woman and haven’t said whether she is the same person who called police on Moore on Sunday night in their Lauderhill home.
It’s believed that Moore then took off toward I-95 in the Silverado. Along the entrance ramp, he twice failed to commandeer another car. The third time he successfully carjacked a Mercedes-Benz, headed north on the interstate, and ditched it at the Broward Boulevard exit ramp, setting off on foot.
He wasn’t seen again until 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, when federal agents found him in West Palm Beach.