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Wayne Police Nab Pint-Sized Jewelry Store Robbers -- With Help From Owners

Niedle, Lopazanski
Niedle, Lopazanski Photo Credit: COURTESY: Wayne PD

A Wayne jewelry store owner and his son helped police catch a pair of armed robbers -- one of whom pointed a shotgun at them and another who sprayed both with Mace, authorities said.

They held a female robber until she was taken into custody by police, who later caught her alleged accomplice as he was about to board a plane at Newark Airport.

With police headquarters barely 1,000 feet up the block, Lt. Robert Simpson reached Massola Jewelers on Preakness Avenue within seconds of the 11:15 a.m. call Tuesday, Detective Capt. Laurence Martin said.

Simpson arrested 5-foot, 115-pound Emily Lopazanski, 34, of Fords, after finding her struggling with George Massola and his son, Roger, on the sidewalk.

Backups Sgt. Alex De Luccia and Officer Christi Ohlendorf found Lopazanski carrying zip ties intended for use as temporary handcuffs, he said.

Both owner and son were treated by the Wayne Memorial Volunteer First Aid Squad for chemical exposure to their eyes and face after Lopazanski sprayed them with Mace during a struggle inside the 35-year-old Wayne institution, the captain said.

An alert was broadcast for Lopazanski's partner,  30-year-old Marc Niedle, 30, of Mountainside, Martin said.

As investigators were searching his home, the captain said, their colleagues and Port Authority police found Niedle at Terminal C of Newark Airport, waiting for a flight to Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Several elite law enforcement officers combined to the quick captures, the captain said

Detective Lt. Wittig and Detective Michael Polifrone and William Jurewicz worked the jewelry store, collecting evidence and statements, with assistance from the Passaic County sheriff's Crime Scene Unit."Law enforcement partners in Mountainside and the Port Authority Police Department provided valuable logistical and tactical assistance," he added.

Niedle, who is 5-foot-4 and 165 pounds, and Lopazanski were both charged with robbery and aggravated assault with a weapon, as well as conspiracy and illegal weapons counts.

They were being held in the Passaic County Jail pending further court action.

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