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Cabbie Captures Illegal Immigrant With Knife Who Robbed Woman At Cliffside Park Bus Stop

Elias Guarcas
Elias Guarcas Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy CLIFFSIDE PARK PD

HERO: A courageous cab driver chased down and captured an illegal immigrant who’d just robbed a woman at knifepoint at a Cliffside Park bus stop early Monday, authorities said.

The 53-year-old victim at first thought that Elias Guarcas, 30, was trying to catch the bus as he ran toward her on Palisade Avenue near the corner of Day Avenue just after 6:30 a.m., Lt. Vincent Capano said.

“Then he stopped, pulled out a knife and told her to give him all her money,” Capano said.

“All she had was $10 in her hand, so he grabbed that,” the lieutenant said. “Then he demanded a black bag she had wrapped over her neck.

“She told him, ‘That’s all the money I have. I don’t have any money in my bag’.”

A woman delivering newspapers saw what was happening and dialed 911.

At almost the same time, the driver for Johnny’s Taxi in Fairview came by and saw the robber lunge at the woman with the knife and try to snatch the bag.

After repeatedly beeping his horn, the cabbie jumped out.

The robber took off south on Palisade Avenue, then turned west onto Riverview Place, tossing the knife along the way, Capano said.

The cabbie chased Guarcas into an alley, grabbed him and held onto him for police who’s just pulled up, the lieutenant said.

Police took Guarcas into custody while recovering both the cash and the knife, he said.

They charged him with robbery, theft and weapons possession and sent him to the Bergen County Jail.

The victim was shaken up but otherwise not physically injured, Capano said.

"If it wasn't for him, this woman probably would have been hurt badly," a dispatcher at Johnny's told Daily Voice while the hero was completing an interview with detectives at Cliffside Park police headquarters.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was notified and was placing a detainer on Guarcas, a Guatemalan immigrant who’d been living in an apartment on Cliff Street -- an area largely populated by natives of South and Central America.

The detainer allows agents to immediately place Guarcas in federal custody if a local judge tries to release him.

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