UPDATE: The man accused of shooting baseball legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been wanted for a pair of street robberies in Clifton last year, Daily Voice has learned.
CLIFTON, N.J. -- Clifton police turned to the public for help Tuesday finding a man suspected of participating in a pair of street holdups.
Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, 23, of Paterson, was with a group of others who held up two men blocks apart last month, Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said.
The first victim, a 26-year-old Passaic man, told police he was accosted on Hope Avenue near Highland Avenue around 7 p.m. Dec. 22 by robbers wearing masks and brandishing handguns, Bracken said.
The group pulled him onto a dark driveway, took his belongings and fled, the lieutenant said.
About an hour later, the same crew pulled the same robbery o a 41-year-old Clifton man as he walked in the area of Lake and Van Winkle avenues, he said.
Clifton Police Officer Christopher O'Brien was searching for suspects when he spotted the group in the area of Madison Street and Vreeland Avenue.
They took off, Bracken said.
With the assistance of Passaic police and the Passaic County Sheriff's Department, a perimeter was set up and the area was searched.
Around 9:40 p.m., two sheriff's officers found and arrested two suspects hiding in a Vreeland Avenue backyard -- Dalvin Cruceta-Espinal, 19, and a 16-year-old boy, both from Paterson, the lieutenant said.
Two handguns tossed away while the suspects fled from O'Brien were recovered, Bracken said.
Clifton detectives the next few weeks began identifying and pursuing two more suspects. Two more handguns also were recovered.
Arturo Hart, 20, of Passaic, turned himself in on Jan. 15 after learning that he was wanted.
Police sought the public's help, meanwhile, in finding Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, 23, of Paterson.
Anyone who sees Ferreira-Cruz or knows where to find him is asked to contact the Clifton Police Detective Bureau: (973) 470--5908 . Callers can remain anonymous.
Bracken thanked Passaic police and the county sheriff for their assistance.
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