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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Clifton PD: Detectives Quickly Bust Pair Who Sucker-Punched Robbery Victim

Juan Cleto-Diaz
Juan Cleto-Diaz Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy CLIFTON PD

CLIFTON, N.J. -- An unsuspecting 29-year-old pedestrian carrying a shopping bag was punched in the face and robbed of his iPad, iPhone and other personal belongings by a gang of thugs -- two of whom Clifton detectives later caught with help from their Passaic colleagues, authorities said Tuesday.

The victim told police he was walking home at 9:45 p.m. Sunday when the robbers set upon him on Knapp Avenue.

One knocked him down with a punch in the face before the crew made off with his belongings, Lt. Robert Bracken said.

Patrol officers and detectives flooded the area, seeking witnesses, surveillance video and other evidence -- and produced a solid lead, Bracken said.

Soon after, city detectives were watching a stretch of Main Avenue in Passaic when their suspects turned up at a McDonalds on Central Avenue, the lietuenant said.

"We were assisted with the arrests by Passaic police," he said.

Juan Cleto-Diaz, 18, of Passaic was charged with robbery and criminal mischief, while a 16-year-old boy was issued a delinquency complaint accusing him of the same crimes, the lieutenant said.

The teen was taken to the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center and Cleto-Diaz to the Passaic County Jail, both pending detention hearings.

The injured victim sought medical attention on his own, Bracken said.

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