PATERSON, NJ - The corner of Ellison and Church streets doesn't seem like a good place to committ a robbery, especially not at lunch time on a weekday. One block to the west is City Hall. Two blocks to the north is police headquarters.
But 19-year-oldJustin Lopez of Park Avenue apparently thought otherwise, according to city police.
At 12:36 pm on Monday, Lopez tried to grab an iPhone from a 43-year-old Clifton woman who was walking on the street, police said. The two briefly struggled until he pushed her aside and made off with the phone, police said.
But off-duty police officer Eric Colondres was nearby, said Lt. Richard Reyes. Colondres called a description of the suspect into headquarter and a short time later Lt. Louis DeLucca was on patrol when he spotted someone matching the description walking near the corner of Straight Street and Park Avenue.
Lopez tried to flee, but DeLucca caught him about a block away, police said. Authorities were able to recover the victim's iPhone, Reyes said.