WOODBRIDGE — A gas station employee was stabbed in the neck Monday afternoon when he tried to stop a shoplifter, according to Woodbridge police.

Police said Harlin M. Rodriguez, 23, of Carteret, entered the Racestar gas station on Port Reading Avenue around 5:15 p.m. and was confronted by the 42-year-old male worker in the store's Food Mart.

The employee was taken by ambulance to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick to undergo surgery. The man was recovering from surgery on Tuesday morning and is expected to survive, according to police.

Rodriguez ran away from the store but later was arrested at his home on Roosevelt Avenue in Carteret a half mile from the gas station, according to Woodbridge police. The knife used in the stabbing was not found.

Rodriguez was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon and robbery. He is being held at the Middlesex County Workhouse.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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