Asleep in car, man surprised by gunman


Areport of shots fired brought police to a Montgomery St. location at about 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, but, as officers soon learned, it had nothing to do with any military activities linked to Veterans Day observance.

As explained by Belleville Deputy Police Chief Mark Minichini, an employee of Arena Americas, which makes industrial fabrics such as tents for corporate functions and the like, left the factory for his mid-day break and decided to take a nap in his vehicle, parked on Montgomery St.

The 29-year-old worker from Paterson was rudely awakened by the sudden appearance, at the driver’s side window, of a man holding a handgun aimed at him and shouting, “Where’s the money? This is a gun. I’ll shoot!”

But the would-be robber didn’t fire and, at some point, Minichini said, the employee began wrestling with the bandit for the weapon and, despite being struck in the forehead, managed to grab the gun, later identified as .38-caliber revolver, away from the man.

The bandit then ran to his vehicle, described by his intended victim as a four-door white Honda Accord, and began driving away. As he did so, the employee squeezed off two shots in the direction of the fleeing suspect.

Minichini said it’s unclear whether the shots hit either the car or the driver.

Four rounds were left, unfired, in the revolver, he said.

The would-be robber was listed as Hispanic, of stocky build, between 25 and 35, with dark hair and wearing a short pony tail.

Minichini said that Belleville P.D. is conducting a joint investigation, with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, of the incident. “It’s an active investigation,” he said.

– Ron Leir

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