Robbery attempt backfires

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

Two feisty service station attendants not only refused to be cowed by an armed robber, they battered him into submission and recovered the money he had taken, Kearny police reported.

The panicked perp high-tailed it down the road, but he was arrested the following day.

Police said the saga began at 11:22 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 3, when a ski-masked man approached an attendant at the pumps at Steve’s Exxon at Passaic Ave. and Belgrove Drive, pulled a large knife and demanded all the employee’s money.

Still holding the attendant at knife-point, the thug forced him into the station’s mini-mart, threatened to stab the clerk who was working there and demanded the cash from the store, police said.

That’s when the tables turned.

According to police: There was a struggle over the knife. The clerk grabbed a baseball bat and began swatting the robber. The two employees managed to disarm him. The ski mask came off. The employees recognized him as a “somewhat regular” customer. They tried to restrain him and keep him on the premises, but he managed to escape, running east on Belgrove.

Officer John Travellino, Sgt. John Becker and Dets. Scott Traynor and Ray Lopez responded to the employees’ 911 call and were able to identify the suspect, police said. They also recovered DNA evidence — blood from the baseball-batted culprit.

The next day, Traynor, Lopez, Det. John Telle and Sgt. Pete Gleason arrested 25-year-old Charles Lambiase at his Kearny home. He was charged with robbery and weapons possession and was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

Police said Lambiase had fled empty-handed. The two employees “took back everything he took. There were no proceeds from that robbery.”

The Observer Staff