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Four NJ Men Charged In Connection With Alleged Armed Robbery, Shootout

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Police at the scene following a robbery and shootout in Elizabeth, N.J. on Apr. 18, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

Police at the scene following a robbery and shootout in Elizabeth, N.J. on Apr. 18, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Four men face numerous charges stemming from an armed robbery that led to a police pursuit in which the defendants allegedly exchanged gunfire with officers.

Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced the charges Saturday, one day after the robbery occurred at a scrap metal yard in Elizabeth. Park said a fifth suspect was also being sought, but did not provide further details.

Bail was set at $1 million each for 22-year-old Michael Howard and 27-year-old Rafael Clemons, both of Irvington, and 30-year-old Sharod Saunders and 47-year-old Steven Chambers, both of Newark. All four are charged with robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, aggravated assault and multiple weapons offenses.

Prosecutors say five people entered the business around 3 p.m. Friday and restrained a group of employees. The suspects then loaded items into a truck and drove off, but were soon confronted by police on Routes 1 and 9, prompting a brief pursuit.

The defendants allegedly fired shots at police during the chase and an Elizabeth officer returned fire, but no one was struck. The pursuit ended a short time later and three of the defendants were apprehended.

A fourth defendant, who allegedly carjacked a pickup truck during the course of the attempted getaway, was soon arrested near an Elizabeth housing complex.

No serious injuries were reported during the robbery, pursuit, and subsequent arrests. Authorities say four weapons were recovered, including three handguns and an AK-47.

It was not known Saturday if any of the suspects had retained an attorney.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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