A theft of $50 worth of drugs led to the victims chasing the suspects in the , with one man whipping out a semi-automatic weapon and pointing it at their pursuers, police said.
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said the incident is the fourth armed robbery involving guns and people dealing narcotics reported to police this month in Toms River.
Mastonardy said the incident began around 2 p.m. with two men, Dominic Piccini, 19, and Michael Sica, 21, of Toms River who were talking to two other men in the parking lot. The two men got into the back seat of Piccini's car.
At that point, one of the two men grabbed a prescription bottle of codeine cough syrup and the two victims' cell phones from the car and fled, said the police chief.
The victims chased the two men, who hopped into another car. As the victims approached the car, which had two other men in it, a confrontation ensued, Mastronardy said. One of the men in the car pointed a black semi-automatic gun at the victims, who then backed off.
"The victims chased the suspects who ran and entered a black Ford Taurus that was parked in the parking lot and occupied by two other males. As they confronted the suspects in the car one of the men pointed a black semi-automatic gun at them. The victims raised their arms and then backed away from the vehicle," Mastronardy said in a statement.
Piccini and Sica walked back to their vehicle, and recovered their cell phones on the ground, police said.
responded to the mall parking lot and activated the Monmouth and Ocean County Intelligence Bureau alert notification to other police agencies, Mastronardy said. After the MOCIB alert went out, the suspects' vehicle was located by South Toms River Police.
South Toms River Police Officers John Wissel and Frank Polizzo and Beachwood Officer Keith Messiner detained the suspects and the vehicle until Toms River detectives responded to continue the investigation, police said.
Mastronardy said the men had met in the parking lot to sell the narcotic cough syrup for $50. As a result of the investigation, police recovered the narcotic, marijuana and the gun.
"Police investigation found that the reported victim in this case was meeting the suspects in the parking lot to sell the narcotic cough syrup for $50. Police also recovered the weapon and the cough syrup as well as marijuana in the suspects' vehicle," Mastronardy said.
Nyguan Brinson, 18, of Commonwealth Boulevard in Manchester Township, Davante Tinnery 19, of Brook Forest Drive in South Toms River, Steven Reeves 18, Citadel Court in South Toms River, and Richard Irving 20, of Oak Street in Lakehurst were all arrested. The four men were transported to Ocean County Jail and charged with robbery and possession of firearm for unlawful purpose.
All suspects are being held on $75,000 bail no 10 percent in the
Anyone with information can contact Detective James Magovern at 732-349-0150 ext 1213 or the Narcotics Unit at 732-349-0150 ext. 1272.