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Good Samaritan helps police chase down Paramus mall mugger

Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramus PD
Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramus PD

A good Samaritan from Manhattan who once saved a family from a house fire helped police chase down a Franklin Lakes man accused of attacking a Christmas shopper by slashing a tire on his SUV as he and a companion made their getaway from a Paramus mall.

PHOTO courtesy Pete Solla

A HERO’S TALE: A single father of two who punctured the tire of a mugger who fled the Garden State Plaza last night, leading to a police capture and arrest, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT today that he was simply doing the right thing. “You just can’t let things go by and not get involved,” said Pete Solla, a New York City sanitation worker who once rescued several people from a burning building. READ MORE….

The 56-year-old victim from Englewood was walking to her car around 8 o’clock Thursday night when a man came up and demanded money, Paramus Police Chief Christopher Brock said.

She said didn’t have any, and he then struggled with her for her purse before grabbing her by the neck and knocking her down.

Pedro Solla, 48, a New York City sanitation worker, heard the woman’s screams and chased the mugger as he ran up the parking deck with the victim’s purse, Brock said.

Turning a corner, Solla saw the robber behind the wheel of a 2002 Ford Explorer with a woman in the passenger seat.

He jumped out and tried to stop them, but the vehicle kept rolling — so, Brock said, Solla punctured a back tire with a knife.

Therese Tabano (MUGSHOT: Courtesy Paramus PD)

The Explorer hit three vehicles on the way out, then headed onto Route 17 South.

Along the way, the woman tossed the purse out the window.

Moments later, the pair stopped in Rochelle Park to fix what was now a flat.

Rochelle Park police rolled up and snatched both of them, Brock said.

Taken back to headquarters, 25-year-old Shane Mahi of Franklin Lakes, was charged with robbery and ordered held on $50,000 bail.

The Indian immigrant from the United Kingdom complained of chest pains, so officers took him to the secure unit of Bergen Regional Medical Center, the chief said. He has since been transferred to the Bergen County Jail.

Mahi, whose arrest record includes previous robbery and weapons charges, is under indictment on drug charges in Passaic County. He was one of 20 people arrested in a pair of drug roundups in Paterson in April and October, records show.

Mahi was on probation at time, having pleaded guilty to endangerment and resisting arrest charges after they said he pushed an unconscious friend who was high on heroin out of the Explorer into a parking lot. He spent 78 days in the Passaic County Jail before being released.

Mahi’s passenger yesterday, Therese Tabano, 21, of Clifton, was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and released without bail pending a Municipal Court hearing.

“The victim sustained minor bruising and abrasions on her arm but refused medical attention,” Brock said.

Solla, whom the chief said rescued a family from a house fire in Harlem in 2004, was fine, he said.


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