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Suspect charged with hate crime in Patchogue attack

Police arrested a Patchogue man Friday who they said was one of three men who assaulted a man while yelling anti-Mexican epithets.

Ramon Rodriguez, 20, of 19 Academy St., was charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime.

The victim, a 22-year-old Ecuadorean man whom police did not identify, told Suffolk detectives that he was walking on Division Street near West Avenue Aug. 15 at about 11:30 p.m. when three young white men hanging out in a parking lot called out to him, police said.

One of the men allegedly struck the victim in the face and knocked him to the ground, police said. Cash and other personal items were stolen from the man, police said.

The attack was the first reported bias crime against a Hispanic victim in Patchogue in the nine months since a group of teenagers were arrested in connection with the stabbing death of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero, officials said.

"We congratulate the police department for its swift and effective action in apprehending this suspect," Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said in a release Friday.

No additional information was immediately available from police Friday concerning other suspects.

Rodriguez was to be arraigned Saturday in First District Court, Central Islip.

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