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Astoria bodega owners nab one robbery suspect

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The owners of an Astoria bodega wrestled a gun away from one of two men during a recent robbery and held down one of the suspects until cops arrived on the scene, the Queens district attorney said.

Police said they were still searching for one suspect in the incident, which took place at Lantigua deli at 30-74 14th St. in Astoria May 29.

Jose Cruz, 24, of 204 Middleton St. in Brooklyn, was arraigned on robbery, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon charges, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. The defendant, who will return to court Monday, could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, a DA spokeswoman said.

Cruz is alleged to have entered the bodega wearing a black mask just before 7:30 a.m. and attempted to rob the deli with a cohort, Brown said. The defendant was allegedly armed with a .40 caliber Glock, which had 12 live rounds in it, according to the criminal complaint.

Police at the scene allegedly recovered the gun as well as a bulletproof vest and gloves from the defendant.

Danny Caba, one of the store’s employees, and manager Louis Colon struggled with Cruz, wrestling away his gun and holding him down until police showed up, the DA said.

The defendant’s alleged accomplice struck Caba on the head with a glass bottle, causing the bodega worker to get seven stitches at a Queens hospital, before fleeing the scene, the DA said.

During the struggle, a round was fired from the gun, but no one was injured.

The accomplice was described as a 5-foot-10 Hispanic male in his 30s or 40s, who is estimated to weigh 250 pounds. He was wearing all-black clothing, including a T-shirt, jeans and a hat.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the city Police Department’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or log on to its Web site at nypdcrimestoppers.com.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 5:50 pm, October 10, 2011
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