By Rich Schapiro And Elizabeth Keogh
New York Daily News
QUEENS, N.Y.—A city paramedic took a break from saving lives Saturday to help foil a robbery in Queens.
EMS Lt. Dwayne Coley was driving along Astoria Blvd. just before noon when an elderly woman flagged him down and pointed toward a group of men tussling on the sidewalk.
The brawl involved employees of a nearby cafe and a man who had just stolen a tip jar and charity cup from their workplace.
Coley bolted from his FDNY Suburban and joined the fray, pinning down the suspect. The paramedic and two colleagues held onto the thief for roughly 25 minutes until police arrived.
"I made sure he didn't go anywhere," Coley told the Daily News. "I felt his body flinch real quick and then he punched one of my guys."
Coley soon learned that the suspect had punched a woman on the sidewalk as he fled from Andy's Cafe.
"He could've had a gun and ended my life," Coley said. "But you know what, my daughter was assaulted back in May and I'm not gonna let anyone hit a woman."
Tomblin Nihjee, 20, was charged with assault of an EMT, petit larceny, and misdemeanor assault and harassment, police said.
Cafe manager Anatolio Pita Hurtado said the suspect ordered a large pie before running off with the tip jar containing about $7 and the charity cup filled with an unknown amount of money.
A female passerby tripped the suspect, then got punched by him.
Pita Hurtado and a coworker quickly caught up with the man on a nearby street corner.
"The problem is not the tip," Pita Hurtado said. "Why this guy take the tips is the problem."
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