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Accused Shoplifter From Westchester Nabbed After Assaulting Officer, Fleeing Scene, Police Say

Afamefuna Nwandu
Afamefuna Nwandu Photo Credit: Fairfield, New Jersey police

A Westchester County man was arrested after he tried to shoplift more than $600 from the Target store on Route 46 in Essex County, New Jersey, police said.

Afamefuna Nwandu, 33, of Mount Vernon, was stopped by store security around 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29 as he tried to push a shopping cart full of merchandise out the door without paying for it, police said. Fairfield, New Jersey officers were called to assist.

Nwandu ran towards the back of the store and exited through an emergency door just as Officer Michael Tilton was pulling up. Nwandu closed the police car door on Tilton's leg as Tilton was trying to exit, then ran across Route 46, according to police.

Police tried, unsuccessfully, to find him with help from area departments, the State Police, and with a drone, but Fairfield detectives were later able to locate his car and to identify Nwandu. Using "other investigative techniques," Nwandu was found in the parking lot of the nearby Willowbrook Mall and was taken into custody, police said.

Nwandu was being held at the Essex County jail pending a hearing in Superior Court.

The officer's injuries were "minimal," police also said.

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