He's gone from mayor, to felon, to crime victim.
"Someone grabbed me, and I thought someone was grabbing me like horseplay, and I started moving, and I turned around, and a young man that I didn't know actually grabbed the cross that I had on my chain, and yanked it and ran up the street," said Sharpe James, former Newark mayor.
Thursday afternoon around 4 p.m., former mayor Sharpe James was waiting in his car on Bergen Street in Newark.
That's when someone came up behind him, put the 78 year old in a choke hold, and snatched his gold chain.
"I would have given him the chain, I wanted the cross, that was more important to me than the chain," James said.
The cross was very important to him. It's a replacement for the one that was confiscated when he went to prison.
The five-term mayor was convicted of corruption in 2008 and served two years.
"It became sentimental to me, the cross especially. I had gone through hard times in my life and I now wore the cross," James said.
20-year-old Alhafeez Williams has been arrested and charged with robbery.
Police say, several hours after the incident Williams turned himself in.
The irony is that investigators told James that during a search of the suspect's grandfather's home, they saw a picture of him shaking hands with Williams' grandfather.
Apparently his grandfather was a big supporter when James was mayor.
Williams is being held on a $50,000 bond, with no 10% option.
Sharpe James was Newark's 35th mayor, and also served as a state senator.
James was not injured in the attack.