3 sought in armed robbery: HPD

Two men held up and robbed a Harrison restaurant and drove away with an accomplice last Saturday, police said.

Police said they were called to the China Wok, 227 Harrison Ave., at 9:35 p.m., where the owner told them that about 10 minutes prior, the eatery, with its two female occupants, had been robbed by two armed men who had fled west on Harrison Ave. onto Second St.

The owner told police he had been making a delivery but was called back after the robbery had occurred so he could notify the police.

Translating for officers, the owner told police that two men, both believed to around age 40 and about 6 feet, placed an order for chicken wings but, while the food was still being prepared by the cook, one of the men produced a silver automatic hand gun, pointed it at the owner’s wife, told her to be quiet and to hand over the money, police said.

As she opened the register, the other man walked around the counter, grabbed the register drawer and removed it from the register. He then emptied the drawer of an estimated $300, dropped the empty drawer on the counter, and ran out of the store, police said.

At this point, police said the owner’s mother walked out of the kitchen, prompting the gunman to point the weapon at her and order her to return there. He then reached over the counter, grabbed a white Apple I-pad 2, valued at $599, next to the register, and fled from the eatery.

Police said the owner’s mother followed the holdup men out the door and saw them get into a small black car waiting in the bus stop in front of Economy Hardware at 206 Harrison Ave. which sped away north on Second St. before she lost sight of it.

Canvassing nearby business owners, police learned that the suspects had been looking in the window of a tavern prior to the holdup and a patron of a neighboring eatery told officers that they’d seen a driver in the car parked in the bus stop.

Based on the witnesses’ accounts, police said the man with the gun was wearing a black jacket and black cap while his accomplice had a grey hooded sweatshirt and a beard.

Viewing footage from a nearby private surveillance camera, police said they could see the suspects walk into China Wok after the man with the grey sweatshirt pulled up his hood to mask his face. A minute and a half later, police said they observed the suspects run from the shop, across the street towards Economy Hardware.

Police broadcast an alarm to surrounding police jurisdictions but a search yielded no trace of the suspects. Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the HPD at 973-483-4100.

• • •

In an unrelated incident on March 20, police said they apprehended a would-be burglar in the act on First St.

At 2:51 p.m., police responded to a First St. location on a report of a man trying to break into a house.

Upon arrival, police said they observed a man standing on a blue recycling trash receptacle in the alleyway on the side of the house. He was banging on the window, trying to climb inside, they said.

Further investigation revealed that the storm window had been removed and the double pane window was shattered, police said. While the window was open, the space may have been too small for the burglar to fit through, they said.

A check of the residence with the occupant indicated that nothing was missing, police said.

The suspect, Mark Banks, 59, of Newark, was arrested on the charge of burglary. He was taken to Hudson County Jail on $50,000 bail with a 10% cash option.

– Ron Leir 

The Observer Staff