Robbery/Aggravated Assault. Edgardo Jose Acuna, 45, of Paterson, was charged January 30 with robbery, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest after he got into a scuffle with police in the parking lot of Target.
According to Officer Christopher Van Ness, officers were dispatched to Target on a report that a shoplifter had assaulted a store detective. He said that Acuna was trying to leave the store with 15 DVDs and other merchandise concealed in a freezer bag. A Target store detective tried to detain Acuna, who punched him in the face before fleeing on foot toward the parking lot, said Van Ness.
When Van Ness arrived, he found Acuna nearby. As officers approached his car, Acuna left and fled on foot toward Home Depot. Officers chased him down, and he aggressively resisted their attempts to place him under arrest. Eventually, the officers were able to handcuff him. During the struggle, three officers sustained minor cuts and abrasions. The Target store detective had a swollen left cheek and jaw as a result of the assault.
Acuna was sent to the Mercer County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Drug Arrests. Robert E. Alston, 25, of Lawrence, was charged January 20 with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and shoplifting. Officer Christopher Van Ness said Alston tried to shoplift video games and DVD movies worth approximately $227.91 from Best Buy. Van Ness said a Best Buy loss prevention officer witnessed the shoplifting and called police. After Alston was placed under arrest, Van Ness said he found him to be in possession of Xanax, oxycodone, and oxycontin.
Arina Balako, 18, and Joseph T. Booth, 21, both of West Windsor, were charged January 26 with possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Christopher Van Ness said he found a suspicious vehicle on Varsity Avenue and smelled marijuana coming from inside the car when he stopped to investigate. He said he found under 50 grams inside the car and found Booth to be in possession of a glass pipe used to ingest marijuana. Balako was also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle.