NJ Robber Dies After Trying to Steal Phone from Former HS Wrestler

Sources tell NBC New York the 30-year-old ex-con tried to steal a cell phone.

A Newark man died after a tussle with a former high school wrestler he tried to rob early Saturday, NBC New York has learned.

UPDATE: No Charges in Failed Fatal Robbery

Law-enforcement sources told NBC New York that 30-year-old Gian Davis approached two men near Bloomfield Avenue at about 1:15 a.m. and asked for change.

When the men said "no," he then asked to borrow a cell phone, grabbed it and tried to run off with it, sources said.

One of the men lunged to get the phone back and Davis put him in a headlock, according to sources. Then, sources say the other man, a former high school wrestler, pulled Davis off his friend and put the would-be robber in a headlock.

It was strong enough that Davis apparently choked to death, sources familiar with the investigation said.

A source said the two men called police and then stayed on the scene until authorities arrived. Davis was pronounced dead at the hospital.

A medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Tom Fennelly, chief assistant Essex County prosecutor, would only confirm that an investigation is ongoing.

No charges have been filed against the former wrestler or his friend. Their names have not been released.

Fennelly said they are cooperating with the investigation.

Davis had prior arrests for aggravated assault and theft. He was released from his last stint in jail on July 22.

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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