A New York man was arrested in Mahwah Tuesday after police say he attempted to shoplift over $2,000 worth of merchandise from the Home Depot, and assaulted an employee who confronted him, Mahwah Police Chief Jim Batelli announced in a release Tuesday evening.
According to Batelli, Rene Ruggio, 50, of Lindenhurst, N.Y., allegedly entered the store Tuesday morning and started placing items – including power tools, electrical supplies, and a microwave – in cardboard boxes that he had in his shopping cart. Cops said he then placed a piece of cardboard and a large bag of grass seed over all of the boxes.
When a loss prevention specialist at the Route 17 North Home Depot recognized Ruggio from a prior shoplifting incident and asked to speak with him, Ruggio allegedly pushed him, starting an altercation that had both men falling into and knocking down racks of flowers, Batelli said.
Ruggio was arrested and charged with strong arm robbery while committing an act of shoplifting, shoplifting, and assault, Batelli said. Bail has been set at $75,000, he said.
According to cops, Ruggio has previously been arrested on a multitude of charges, including robbery, burglary, assault, and theft.
Police said they believe he entered the store with another individual who they say may have been an accomplice, and cops are now examining in-store video camera footage to continue the investigation into this incident.