Two teenagers suspected of taking part in a robbery at Quaker Bridge Mall were arrested recently after an alert Lawrence Township police officer spotted them driving around in the same stolen car that was used during the crime.
Officer Andres Mejia was on supplemental DUI patrol when, shortly before 1:40 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22, he observed a blue Hyundai Santa Fe nearly cause a collision when it failed to yield to another vehicle at Princeton Avenue and Brunswick Circle Extension, according to Lawrence Township police spokesman Lt. Mark Ubry.
He said a computer check of the registration revealed that the Hyundai had been stolen from Hamilton Township and used as the getaway vehicle in the Dec. 12 robbery at the J.C. Penney department store at Quaker Bridge Mall.
Mejia followed the Hyundai into the parking lot of a nearby convenience store and, together with other officers, conducted a felony traffic stop and took the driver and his passenger into custody, Ubry said.
The driver, Robert A. Santiago, 18, of Wood Street, Trenton, was charged with receiving stolen property, and the passenger, a 16-year-old girl from Chester, Pa., was charged with knowingly riding in a stolen vehicle.
Santiago and the girl are suspects in the Dec. 12 shoplifting-turned-robbery, which remains under investigation by detectives, Ubry said.
In that crime, two males and a female stole a selection of clothing from the J.C. Penney store. As they went to leave the store without paying for the items, the trio was confronted by a female J.C. Penney employee, who was punched in the right cheek by the female shoplifter.
Because force was used during the crime, it is considered a robbery under the law.