NORTH PLAINFIELD – The rifle thought to be used in Tuesday morning’s armed robbery at the CVS store located on Route #22 in North Plainfield was found by a high school baseball coach prior to North Plainfield’s baseball game vs Bound Brook this past Thursday. The gun was found leaning against a fence that was out of play. The gun was determined to be unloaded.
On Tuesday morning a man wearing a black ski mask and joined by a man carrying a rifle, robbed the CVS store. The man wearing the ski mask was identified as the night manager of the CVS store.
The man, James Munoz, 20, of North Plainfield, faces charges including first-degree robbery, said authorities.
According to officials Munoz and another man entered the Route 22 store shortly before 5 a.m. “Both individuals were wearing black ski masks covering a portion of their faces and one was carrying a long-arm rifle,” said a statement from Acting Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson, Acting North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti and Acting Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald.
Police went to the store after receiving a 9-1-1 call about an armed robbery, said the officials. “Responding officers located and interviewed two store employees who related that two males entered the store and stole cash from a locked register drawer,” they said.
Employees told police they recognized Munoz but not his accomplice, a black man, who wielded a rifle during the incident. An employee told police that he’d took over from Munoz earlier in the evening. He pointed out that Munoz failed to give him the register key before leaving.
Detectives then got a state Superior Court judge to give them a search warrant for Munoz’s residence, said the officials. “Detectives subsequently executed the search warrant and recovered clothing, a black mask, gloves, the CVS cash drawer key and three shotguns,” they said. “Defendant Munoz was taken into custody without incident upon his arrival at the residence.”
In addition to the robbery charge, Munoz was charged third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and with third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, said authorities. He was placed in the Somerset County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail set by state Superior Court Judge Kathy Qasim.
Robertson said the investigation is continuing as detectives try to identify Munoz’s accomplice. He is described as a black male, thin build, medium height, last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark pants with a black ski mask covering a portion of his face.
Authorities asked anyone with information regarding the robbery to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100, or the North Plainfield Borough Police Department at (908) 769-2937,
“Those individual wishing to remain anonymous can submit their information by calling the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE,” they said. “All Crime Stopper Tips will be kept confidential.”