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At approximately 8:31 p.m. on Jan. 31, the Paramus Police Department received a call reporting a suspicious man at the food court of the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall brandishing a black semi-automatic handgun. Several minutes later, Officer David Betancourt spotted the man walking along the lower level of the shopping center toward Macy’s. Betancourt noticed what appeared to be a weapon stuffed in the waistband of suspect’s pants and approached him. Betancourt, backed up by other officers, took possession of the weapon – a BB gun. Police arrested Devin Rivera, 18, of Clifton, for the possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose.
At the time of the arrest, Betancourt was assigned as part of a mall safety unit that is subsidized by Westfield Garden State Plaza.Rivera was arrested without incident and released on his own recognizance pending further prosecution. Rivera claimed he was carrying the weapon because he was afraid of other individuals who might be at the shopping center.