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Fair Lawn PD: Off-Duty 42-Year Veteran Officer Scuffles With CVS Shoplifter

Fair Lawn Police Capt. Robert Kneer
Fair Lawn Police Capt. Robert Kneer Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photos

FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- A career criminal from Paterson fought for nearly five minutes with an off-duty Fair Lawn police veteran who interrupted a shoplifting.

Capt. Robert Kneer -- a 42-year police veteran -- stopped Richard Cosme, 47, who bit Kneer's finger and tore ligaments in his left hand before dashing to a 2014 Nissan Juke parked outside the CVS on Fair Lawn Avenue just after midnight on Aug. 25, Sgt. Brian Metzler said Thursday.

Officer responding to a call of a fight in the CVS parking lot helped arrest Cosme and the driver, 43-year-old Francisco Aguilera of Clifton, Metzler said.

Inside a backpack that Cosme was carrying were various items stolen from the store, including razor blades and shaving equipment, he said.

A passenger in the vehicle, Antonio Gomez, 34, of Paterson, took off on foot but was tracked down and taken into custody by Officer Kevin Wood on Morlot Avenue at Hartley Place "with unpaid items in his pants," the sergeant said.

The car and both of its license plates were reported stolen out of Totowa, Metzler said.

Unspecified evidence of drug use was found in the car and on the suspects, he added.

Cosme, who records show has a criminal history stretching back more than 25 years, also had outstanding arrest warrants out of Paterson and Seaside Heights.

He remained held in the Bergen County Jail on $75,000 bail, charged with robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated assault on a police officer, receiving stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of hypodermic needles.

Aguilera and Gomez were released without bail pending court hearings.

Both were charged with possessing the stolen car, receiving stolen property and having drug paraphernalia.

Aguilera also was charged with driving with a suspended license and having the two bogus plates.

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