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42-year-old man charged in connection with 2 robberies

On June 26, a 42-year-old man was taken into custody in New Jersey for allegedly robbing two hotels in the Newark area. A caller alerted local police to the suspect's possible whereabouts, and the tip led police to a location where they found the man driving a GMC Yukon that was reportedly stolen. While in custody, he was positively identified by the victims of the two robberies. In addition to robbery, the man has been charged with criminal restraint, possession of a weapon, receiving stolen property and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

According to a sergeant with the Newark Police Department, the first incident happened on June 15 when the man is said to have jumped over the front desk of a hotel and pointed a gun at the employee behind it. He then tried to take out the hotel safe and failed, but he did manage to steal $1,300 from the cash register. A surveillance camera recorded the entire robbery.

NPD said the second robbery occurred during the early morning hours of June 19 and took place in similar fashion to the first. The robber hopped the counter, put a gun to the employee's side and asked for cash. He also demanded to be told where the hotel's safe was located. The employee was restrained and $400 were stolen in addition to an ATM machine, the safe and surveillance equipment.

These incidents raise questions about the reliability of eyewitness identifications in criminal cases. They are not always reliable and can sometimes be challenged by legal counsel. If retained by the suspect, a criminal defense attorney for the suspected robber might be able to question the validity of the victims' identifications of him if there are inconsistencies in their descriptions of what happened during the robberies. That circumstance would strengthen the man's chances of beating the charges against him.

Source: NJ, "Newark hotel robber arrested after getting tip from public, police say", Seth Augenstein, June 28, 2014

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