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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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Wayne PD: Elmwood Park Ex-Con Beats Mall Cop, Caught By Detective

Luca Ferrigno
Luca Ferrigno Photo Credit: COURTESY: NJ Department of Corrections

WAYNE, N.J. -- An Elmwood Park ex-con was fleeing Macy's after beating a Willowbrook Mall security guard who caught him shoplifting when a Wayne detective grabbed him, authorities said Monday.

Detective Sgt. James Celentano was conducting safety and security patrols when he spotted 47-year-old Luca Ferrigno, Capt. Laurence Martin said.

Police moments earlier were called to the store after Ferrigno grabbed a Breville coffee maker, ran toward the exit and hit the security officer who tried to stop him in the face and head, Martin said.

Ferrigno was paroled from state prison in June 2015 after serving less than a year for stealing credit cards and other items from parked cars and lockers at local exercise gyms.

His arrest sheet in Bergen and Passaic counties dates back nearly two decades -- for crimes that include theft, wrongful impersonation, forgery and several counts of fraudulent use of credit cards, records show.

Confronted by Celentano on Saturday, Ferrigno "admitted to having just left Macys and could not explain his profuse sweating or nervous behavior," Martin said.

The victim identified him moments later and Ferrigno was taken into custody.

A judge later ordered him released pending a court hearing on robbery charges.

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