MAHWAH, N.J. -- Mahwah police officers using ballistic shields rushed two Newark men in the middle of an armed robbery of a Route 17 Quick Stop and took them into custody early Saturday authorities said.
A 911 holdup call from the gas station deli just south of the New York state line came in just after 5:30 a.m., Police Chief James Batelli said.
"The caller stated he was about to be robbed," he said, "and as the dispatcher asked for additional information the phone line went dead."
Sgt. Michael Blondin and Officers John Rodriguez, David Sinisi and John Lange saw two men standing in front of the counter. The attendant was behind it and a female patron was in the store, Batelli said.
Both men "had their hands in their pockets and refused the commands of the officers to take their hands out," the chief said. "Using ballistic shields as cover the officers entered the store and took the two males to the ground."
A short time earlier, the pair had been "in and out of the store several times looking at items," Batelli said. "After entering the store for about the third time one of [them] asked the attendant if they could trade a cellphone for some items.
"When he refused, one of [them] put his hands in his pocket [and] motioned that he had a gun."
"Give me your money or I'll shoot you," the attendant told police the robber said.
The attendant raised his arms and told the pair the money was with the station attendant outside.
One of the men went outside briefly while the other waited by the door. That's when the cashier called police and put the fphone on the floor, the chief said.
Officers arrived moments after the robber who stepped out returned inside, he said. They took the pair into custody without incident, Batelli said. No weapon were found.
Tyree Kalief Kelly, 37, were being held on $250,000 bail and Jermaine Andreas Kelly, 39, on $200,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail. Both are charged with armed robbery, the chief said.
Both have criminal records.
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