Thursday, December 7, 2017
A local man arrested early Wednesday on three counts of capital murder had a lengthy criminal history stretching back more than 15 years, and was once referred to as a "one-man crime wave" as a 19-year-old in 2003.
Nicholas Matthew Lewondowski, 34, of Hot Springs, has been classified as a habitual offender multiple times, court records show. The most recent filing, on June 8, 2017, stems from a first-degree battery charge filed against him Aug. 27, 2016, involving an alleged assault on a fellow inmate while in custody in the Garland County Detention Center.
The battery charge was later withdrawn "for further investigation," but according to the amended information at that time Lewondowski had more than 14 prior felony convictions.
On June 17, 2003, he was convicted of two counts of theft by receiving over $2,500, three counts of theft by receiving of a firearm, and one count each of robbery, second-degree battery, theft of property over $500 and theft by receiving over $500, and was sentenced to five years in prison on all the counts, to run concurrently.
The robbery conviction stemmed from an incident Dec. 29, 2002, in which Lewondowski, then 19, attacked employees of Walmart, 4019 Central Ave., after they confronted him for shoplifting. He reportedly punched one employee multiple times, causing injuries, before other employees finally wrestled him to the ground.
On June 9, 2005, he was convicted of fraudulent use of a credit card, theft by receiving over $500, theft by receiving over $2,500, and two counts of breaking or entering and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On Oct. 15, 2013, he was convicted of residential burglary and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His sentence at that time was to run concurrently with the revocation of his parole from his numerous prior convictions.
Lewondowski was arrested on the burglary charge and other warrants on Nov. 29, 2012, after a massive manhunt and a brief standoff at the Hamilton Oaks Inn, 5380 Central Ave., which ended when officers with the Garland County Tactical Response Team made forced entry into the room where he was hiding.
Officers asked a woman who answered the door if anyone else was in the condo and she said no, and claimed she was the only one there. TRT members searched further and located Lewondowski hiding in a hide-a-bed sofa and took him into custody without further incident.
At the time of his arrest on Feb. 6, 2003, at a residence in Mountain Pine, Garland County sheriff's investigators recovered thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise, stemming from burglaries of homes and break-ins to multiple vehicles and storage facilities.
Lewondowski was reportedly sitting in a chair with a loaded, .45-caliber handgun in his hand, resting on his chest, when officers entered. Officers were able to disarm him without incident and it was discovered the handgun, and two other guns he had brought with him, were stolen.
Over the course of two days investigators searched other residences, including two where Lewondowski had been staying and others where he hid property, and recovered more items.
Then-Sheriff Larry Sanders said, "One place would lead us to another and so on. This will clear up several cases and hopefully stop a bunch. This guy was just nonstop. He was a one-man crime wave."Local on 12/07/2017
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