A man who assaulted owners and robbed a Jersey City grocery store three times in six days was captured by a waiting police officer when he returned a fourth time.
Store surveillance video taken Friday night at Augie’s Grocery Deli shows the violent jumping over the counter, as he had done the previous three times between January 10 and January 16. Only this time, instead of making off with cash or merchandise, the thief was stunned when off-duty police officer Maurice Johnson, who had stopped to check the store , jumped out from the back of the store.
The thief took off toward the exit, but was caught and arrested around the corner by Johnson and the store owner’s son, Agustin Lopez Jr., who is also a Jersey City police officer.
“I feel much, much safer now,” said Augie Lopez Sr., 77, who told the Jersey Journal last week that he was scared every time someone wearing a ski mask crossed the line. gate.
The thief has been identified as 34-year-old Travis Nealey. He was charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of resisting arrest, Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said. Nealey was taken to Jersey City Medical Center after his arrest “due to possibly being under the influence of CDS”, and he was released back into custody after being examined by JCMC staff, said said Wallace-Scalcione.
Lopez said her son was watching the store at 325 Old Bergen Rd., but had to leave for a few minutes, so Johnson pulled over.
“He was going to stand outside the store, but I told him to ‘come inside and sit down, but don’t let yourself be seen,'” Lopez said. “You never know. If the (thief) sees someone in front, he won’t come in.
Lopez Jr., who was returning to the store when the thief tried to flee, broke his ankle helping to make the arrest, his father said.
“When I’m in pain, this guy doesn’t want to go to jail,” said Lopez, who suffered numerous bruises when he was assaulted and pushed to the ground in the first two robberies.
Nealey, currently in the Hudson County jail, made his first court appearance on Tuesday and a detention hearing is scheduled for Friday.