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Suspect Arrested In Mugging Of Former Newark Mayor

Alhafeez Williams is accused of robbing former Newark Mayor Sharpe James. (credit: Newark Police)

Alhafeez Williams is accused of robbing former Newark Mayor Sharpe James. (credit: Newark Police)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Police have made an arrest in the mugging of the former Newark mayor Sharpe James.

Alhafeez Williams has been charged with robbery, police said.

Williams, 20, has several prior arrests and felony convictions, police said.

Williams is being held on $50,000 bail.

The incident happened shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday on Bergen Street near Newark’s Weequahic Park.

Police said James was approached from behind by Williams, who put him in a choke hold and grabbed a gold chain from around his neck before taking off. James was not injured in the attack.

Investigators scoured the area after the attack in an effort to identify and track down the attacker, police said.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says the suspect approached police in New York City early Friday and asked to ride the PATH commuter train for free to meet his parole officer.

Coleman says police learned the man was wanted and turned him over to Newark police.

Coleman says the suspect’s girlfriend had James’ necklace.

“Today’s arrest was the culmination of great police work, community involvement, and technological advances,” said Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio. “I am pleased that through the relentless efforts of our detectives assigned to the robbery squad and the assistance of the community we were able to make a swift identification and apprehension in this case.”

James was mayor from the mid-1980s until 2006. He later was convicted in a federal corruption trial and sentenced to more than two years in prison.

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