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Palisades Park ex-con surprised by arrest, faces ‘three strikes’

Photo Credit: Courtesy Palisades Park PD

NOWHERE BUT CVP: A violent Palisades Park ex-con who ducked out of court before a judge could order mandatory drug testing earlier this month was surprised to find when he was arrested yesterday that his bail had been hiked to $100,000 bail after police identified him as a purse snatcher.

James DeSotto already has conviction for aggravated assault with a baseball bat (2004) and robbery (2003) on his record. If he pleads to or is found guilty of the current offenses, it would be his third felony conviction as an adult.

Last year, a man caught trying to steal a woman’s purse was sentenced to life in prison under New Jersey’s “Three Strikes” law.

DeSotto walked out of the Home Depot in Secaucus and into the waiting arms of Palisades Park detectives yesterday.

At first, he thought he was being collared for bolting court in Hackensack two weeks ago after learning that the terms of his probation for a June 2012 offense required drug testing, Palisades Park Police Chief Benjamin Ramos told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.

The judge, in turn, issued a warrant for DeSotto with $1,000 bail.

A week later, a woman on East Harriet Avenue had her purse snatched by a man who headed toward Roth Avenue, where DeSotto lives, Ramos said.

As he ran, he dropped a New York Yankees cap he was wearing, which officers collected as evidence.

The victim and her sister gave descriptions of him to Palisades Park detectives.

The following day, DeSotto’s father reported that his son had come to his house, demanded money and threatened to shoot him, Ramos told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

A Municipal Court judge immediately hiked the bail to $100,000, making DeSotto a priority for law enforcement.

Aware that he’d been taking items to area Home Depots for refunds, police began looking for DeSotto on Friday, Ramos said.

“The last thing he expected was for us to be waiting for him” when he emerged from the Secaucus store over the weekend, the chief said.

MUGSHOT: Courtesy Palisades Park PD

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