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Paramus police: Fleeing credit card scammers hit officer, ram cruiser at mall

Photo Credit: Courtesy PARAMUS PD

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Paramus police cornered and arrested two Bronx men at the Best Buy off Route 17 after one of them clipped an officer and rammed a cruiser in an attempt to flee, authorities said this afternoon.

Police Officers Mike Ditolla and Daniel Derienzo of the department’s Anti-Crime Unit responded to a 5:40 p.m. call yesterday of the men trying to buy $4,000 worth of IPad Airs and video games with stolen credit cards from the Garden State Plaza store, Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.

They spotted them getting into a 1999 Dodge Stratus with New York state license plates, he said.

As Derienzo approached the driver’s side, identifying himself, the driver hit the gas and sped off, hitting the officer’s arm, Ehrenberg said.

The Dodge then rammed the cruiser driven by Ditolla, who’d pulled in front of the vehicle to block it, the chief said.

The driver kept going but made a wrong turn down a dead-end aisle. At that point, the trapped duo were taken into custody by Ditolla and Officers Anthony Modaga and David Betancourt.

Derienzo was treated at a local hospital for bruises and cuts and was released, Ehrenberg said.

The driver, Nelson Rodriguez (above, left), and his passenger, Rafael Batista (right), both 41, were each charged with robbery.

Rodriguez was also charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and eluding. He was being held on $50,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Passenger Rafael Batista, also 41, was also charged with possession and fraudulent use of credit cards.


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