Witnesses Impressed With Officers' Immediate Response, Dogged Pursuit

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An armed home invasion earlier in the day sent police on a wild car chase that ended in a crash. However, police said that some of the suspects were still on the run Thursday evening.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, the family was home at the time of the break-in.

“They said they were there to fix a gas leak. Then she opened the door. They had some type of mask on and they had a gun pointed at her,” Englewood Cliffs Police Chief Michael Cioffi said.

The apparent push-in robbery happened at around 1 p.m. at a luxury home on Leighton Street, where it dead ends, in Englewood Cliffs. At least one woman and some children were inside when the suspects entered, police said. The thieves ransacked the home for cash and jewelry before fleeing.

Alert neighbors saw two suspicious cars parked outside and called police. The suspects took off, pulling out of the dead end street with responding officers right behind the getaway cars, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

The woman’s son-in-law later showed up at the house, only to find it surrounded by cops.

“We’re just in shock. We’re trying to figure out what happened. We’re just grateful she’s okay, relatively okay,” Sarwar Kohbaib said.

Kohbaib said the police response was impressive.

“Just an immediate and exceptionally well-coordinated response,” he said, adding when asked about the pursuit, “Exactly, and it sends a message to anybody else out there that would try something like this in this neighborhood or any other surrounding neighborhood that the police department here really take their jobs seriously.”

During the high-speed chase there was plenty of crazy driving. Near a home a few blocks away from the suspects’ targeted house, the alleged getaway driver took a corner too fast and jumped up onto the lawn, losing a side mirror and other car parts, police said.

After racing around for several miles, a flat tire to the suspects’ Dodge Avenger finally put an end to the getaway, police said.

“The car lost it. The tire went flat. The car went out of control,” witness John Jace said.

Police nabbed two of the men from the Dodge, but one managed to escape. investigators said two more suspects got away inside of a white Infiniti with the partial New York license plate “GBR.”

“Three different directions they took off in,” Jace said.

Back at the targeted house, neighbors were counting their blessings.

“And I was home alone, so that could’ve been me easily,” Linda Kalayjian said.

Kalayjian said she saw the same men just minutes before they invaded the home, on her street just one block away.

“There was a car that pulled up, a man got out of the car with like an orange vest that said contractor and was walking around looking. It definitely seemed a little weird,” she said.

The investigating was ongoing Thursday evening.

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