WESTWOOD, N.J. -- A manhunt ended Thursday night when an alert Westwood police officer captured a repeat offender who authorities said bit a gas station attendant on the hand in an attempted robbery, then knocked on a Hillsdale resident's door asking to use the phone.
David Musciotto, 31, of Park Ridge was riding a bicycle on Broadway near the Petro Two station -- the site of the crime a little over 24 hours earlier -- when Officer Tristan Ganter grabbed him around 11 p.m. Thursday, said Lt. Matt McClutchy, the officer in charge of the department.
Musciotto approached the attendant and demanded money just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, McClutchy said.
He then threw the attendant to the ground when he refused, the lieutenant said.
Musciotto entered the station office, where a struggle ensued in which he bit a second attendant on the hand, McClutchy said.
Musciotto then fled empty-handed, he said.
Westwood police set up a perimeter, with help from their colleagues from Hillsdale, Park Ridge, River Vale and Woodcliff Lake, members of the Bergen County Regional SWAT team and a county sheriff's K-9 unit.
Musciotto, meanwhile, had headed north, eventually knocking on a resident's door in Hillsdale.
"His face was bleeding," the resident said. "He'd definitely been in a fight."
Musciotto asked to use the man's phone, saying he'd lost his during a fight with a friend.
He also showed his driver's license, in an apparent attempt to prove that he wasn't up to something, the resident said.
Musciotto made a call as the two stood on the porch but said his friend wasn't coming. Then he left, said the resident, whose name was being withheld.
After checking his vehicles to make sure nothing was stolen, the homeowner called police.
Several police cars quickly pulled up.
"They were already looking for him," the resident said.
Westwood police issued a bulletin that quickly helped identify Musciotto, McClutchy said.
Records show a judge in Hackensack this past May released Musciotto less than 24 hours after authorities said he was caught with several ounces of heroin and marijuana for sale.
Musciotta's criminal record also includes an arrest in Waldwick on eluding charges, in Park Ridge on charges of selling drugs to undercover investigators three separate times and in Connecticut for an unspecified offense.
He remained held Friday in the Bergen County Jail pending a Jan. 5 first court appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault.
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