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Ex-con, girlfriend tracked down, charged in Mahwah CVS holdup

Photo Credit: Courtesy MAHWAH PD
Photo Credit: MAHWAH PD

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Following a multi-state search, Mahwah police have charged a convicted felon and his girlfriend with the Fourth of July holdup of a CVS in town, in which a store manager had a gun put to his head.

After “painstakingly viewing” store surveillance footage, Detective Michael Grassi identified the heavyset woman spotted in the store that day ( photo, below ) as 27-year-old Nicole J. DeSilva, of Balston Spa, N.Y., Chief James Batelli said this afternoon.

DeSilva, who already was on probation, was caught on tape in the Franklin Turnpike store “acting in what witnesses described as a suspicious manner,” Batelli said.

Grassi and fellow Detective Kevin Hebert videotaped an interview they had with DeSilva in which she identified the man with the large gun in the robbery as her boyfriend, Freddie L. Toms, 37, of Gainsville, N.Y., the chief said.

DeSilva entering CVS (Courtesy MAHWAH PD)

Toms previously spent 18 years in prison and has arrest records in Texas and New York for robbery, Batelli said.

He was being held in the Worcester (Mass.) County Jail, pending extradition to New Jersey, after being arrested for robbing a CVS there 10 days after the Mahwah holdup, the chief said.

Bail was set at $250,000, on charges of first-degree robbery, criminal resetraint and two counts of weapons possession, Batelli said.

DeSilva, meanwhile, was charged with first-degree armed robbery and ordered held on $75,000 bail in the Saratoga (N.Y.) Jail pending extradition, the chief said.

Batelli said Toms came in the morning of the holiday and asked for help with a heating pad in one of the aisles.

He then “drew a black handgun from his waistband and held it to the manager’s head” and brought him to the front of the store, where “a second employee was ordered to open a register drawer and place the cash in a green and white bag that the suspect had with him,” the chief said.

A witness saw the fleeing robber get into a light silver or white Chevrolet Corsica or Lumina that he believes is from the late 90s or early 00s. The vehicle left the parking lot onto Fox Lane heading into the Suffern, New York area.

The crime scene was processed by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification while Mahwah detectives interviewed witnesses and gathered information.

Reviewing the store video, investigators noticed DeSilva enter the store a half-hour or so before the holdup She bought a drink and asked for directions to the New York State Thruway, the chief said.

Batelli thanked the Chester, N.Y., Police Department, the New York State Police and the Worcester, Mass., Police Department for their assistance.


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