RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. – A robber wielding a large kitchen knife robbed several terrified victims on the streets surrounding Route 46 in Ridgefield Park before a village police officer spotted and arrested him, authorities said Friday.
A judge ordered Jimmy Garcia, 19, of the village held on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with robbery, kidnapping, criminal restraint, theft and various weapons possession counts.
The holdup spree Wednesday night drew police to the area of Teaneck Road and the highway, Lt. Joseph Rella said.
In one instance, the robber accosted a woman waiting for a bus, “making her log into her cellphone as he walked her at knifepoint to an ATM machine, where she withdrew $60” around 7:45 p.m., Rella said.
He then took off with her cellphone and the cash, he said.
"Three more incidents within a two-hour window were all similar in nature as Garcia approached the victims and demanded money while brandishing the knife,” Rella said. "Thankfully, none of the victims was injured."
Soon after, Patrolman Joe Avila spotted Garcia on Teaneck Road.
As Avila approached him, Garcia tossed the knife – and was immediately taken into custody as backups converged, the lieutenant said.
Police did a drive-by with the victims, who identified Garcia as the robber, Rella said. Officers also recovered the knife.