ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Four suspects were in police custody Friday night, and a fifth remained on the run, after a robbery and a gun battle with officers in Elizabeth, N.J.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, officers said they were chasing the suspects after a carjacking.
Exclusive CBS 2 video showed two of the five suspects, who police say really raised the stakes in a junkyard heist Friday afternoon as they turned a bust into a shootout.
The ill-fated heist started at Bayway Scrap Metals, on Amboy Avenue near the Goethals Bridge. Jaime Navarro, the son of the husband-and-wife owners of the junkyard, was visibly shaken as he discussed the phone conversation he had with his mother Friday afternoon.
“Saying that we’ve been held up, we’ve been robbed,” Navarro told Miller.
The two owners, two co-workers and customers were hogtied and robbed of $250,000 work of catalytic converters, Miller reported.
“About $20,000 in cash, they stole their IDs, they took the IDs as an intimidation so ‘hey, listen. We got your IDs, we know where you live,'” Navarro said.
He said his 66-year-old father is in the hospital, along with an employee of the shop.
“They were bashing his head in with the pistols and a machine gun. They said he had an Uzi,” Navarro told Miller.
His parents have owned Bayway Scrap Metals for more than 30 years and have been robbed in the past. He said rather than move, his family will invest in armed guards.
Police later caught up to the suspects, who had rented a U-Haul truck and loaded it with junked catalytic converters — items contain the precious metals platinum, palladium, and rhodium and have recently been targeted for theft. Police said the catalytic converters the suspects stole were worth $250,000.
Officers pulled over the U-Haul, and the five suspects came out with guns blazing on North Avenue near U.S. 1 & 9. Police returned fire, but no one was hit, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
Four suspects were caught soon afterward, CBS 2 reported.
The fifth suspect drove off in a pickup truck that police believe he may have carjacked, D’Auria reported. The pickup truck was found, but the suspect remained on the loose late Friday.
At dusk, the scene near Newark Liberty International Airport was still dotted with evidence markers where the shell casings fell, and crime scene technicians measuring off the distances.
The catalytic converters and the guns the suspects used were all confiscated by Elizabeth police and the Union County Prosecutor’s office.
A single stolen catalytic converter can fetch $40 on the street, but replacing one can cost $1,000.
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