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Long IslandCrime

Friends turn tables on would-be mugger in Uniondale, police say

A would-be mugger who attacked a pedestrian talking on his cellphone was foiled in Uniondale Thursday when the victim's friend heard the commotion on the line and ran to help, Nassau police said.

The two friends fought with Benjamin Francis on Uniondale Avenue, and despite being punched in their faces by him, the two held onto him until officers arrived to arrest him, authorities said.

The pedestrian, 28, his friend, 25, and Francis, 29, were taken to a hospital to be treated for contusions and swelling to their heads.

Francis, of Argyle Avenue in Uniondale, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges of third-degree attempted robbery, two counts of third-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief, police said.

The attack started about 1:10 p.m. when Francis approached the victim from behind as they walked on Uniondale Avenue, near Spuhler Place, police said. 

He struck the pedestrian on the back of his head and tackled him to the ground, police said.

The victim, who believed Francis was trying to steal his phone, fought back, authorities said.

It turned out the friend on the other end of the line was close enough to dash over to help, police said.

"After being punched in the face by Francis, both victims were able to gain control of him until police arrived and placed him into custody," police said in a statement.

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