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Coffee-tossing robber arrested for 3rd time since Thanksgiving: police

A Jersey City woman has been charged with throwing hot coffee on a gas station mini-mart employee and robbing more than $350 -- the third time since Thanksgiving she is accused accosting someone with liquid.


Port Authority police responded to a call of a robbery in progress at the Exxon station on 14th Street and Marin Boulevard at 8:20 p.m. on Jan. 10 and saw April S. Harris, 40, holding a coffee pot inside the store, police said.

A 56-year-old employee outside the mini-mart told police Harris threw coffee at him before cleaning out the cash register, Port Authority police spokesman Joe Pentangelo said. Harris complied when ordered to put down the coffee pot and she was arrested, Pentangelo said, adding that police found she had $360 on her.

After each of the first two incidents, Harris, who also goes by the name Alicia, was released on her own recognizance. She has not appeared in Criminal Justice Reform Court for her latest charge and is still in Hudson County jail.

After her Jan. 10 arrest, police also found there was a warrant for Harris out of Jersey City Municipal Court with a bail set at $2,000, Pentangelo said. Harris was charged with robbery, receiving stolen property and bail jumping before being remanded to the jail in Kearny, Pentangelo said.

On Nov. 24, Harris was arrested on a bus at Communipaw and Garfield avenues after police said she sprayed a bus driver with the cleaning liquid Windex. Harris had just gotten on the bus and she apparently grew angry when the bus driver demanded that she either pay the fare or get off the bus, police said.

The bus driver told police that this wasn't the first time Harris doused her with liquid. In a prior incident that was not reported, Harris threw hot tea on the bus driver, police were told. 

In the Nov. 24, incident, police said Harris said she was bipolar and schizophrenic and that she would punch the bus driver in the face the next time she saw her, the police report said. Harris was evaluated by a Jersey City Medical Center doctor and cleared for incarceration, police said. She was issued a summons through the city's municipal court and given a Dec. 14 court date.

Three days later, on Nov. 27, at 10 p.m., police say a gas station store clerk was hospitalized with burns to his face and forehead after Harris threw boiling water and hot coffer in the employee's face.

According to a police report, Harris became irate when a debit card she tried to use at the Exxon station at Communipaw and Kennedy Boulevard was declined. She admitted to police that she threw the boiling liquids -- "because she felt like it." 

Harris was charged with aggravated assault and taken to the jail. She was released after a detention hearing.

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