Paterson police chased down and seized two city men who they said were robbing cab drivers at gunpoint.
Both men fled after the noon holdup on Thursday in the area of 23rd Avenue and East 32nd Street, Police Director Jerry Speziale said.
Then, at 1 a.m., a second driver said he’d been held up in the area of Market and Colt streets downtown.
Street Crime Detectives James Jenkins, Anthony Castronova, Luis Roca, and Sgt. Rick La Trecchia were in the Smith Street area spotted two men fitting the robbers’ description soon after.
Seeing police, both bolted, Speziale said. Jenkins noticed one was carrying a handgun, he said.
Backups arrived and Officer Jon Dabal quickly grabbed one of the suspects, identified as Javier Lopez, 23.
The other, Richard Lopez, 27, tossed the handgun before he was caught by Jenkins and Detective Javier Gutierrez, Speziale said.
While still in the area, officers were approached by a third taxi driver who said the pair had robbed him minutes earlier in the area of Main and Market streets, the director said.
Both men were charged with armed robbery, resisting arrest and weapons offenses and sent to the Passaic County Jail pending a detention hearing in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson.
Detectives from the city’s Major Crimes Unit also were investigating to determine whether the two were involved in other holdups, Speziale said.
“These investigators are endowed with the ability to see situations for what they are and have the skills required to handle such difficult tasks safely,” he said.
ALSO SEE: U.S. Marshals helped authorities capture a 19-year-old Paterson man wanted in a six-month-old shooting at a deadly city street corner behind a public school.
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