Ewing police say quick action by several officers helped locate and capture a robber who'd beaten a One Stop Mini Mart employee with his fists, then tied the employee up with duct tape on Christmas Eve.

According to police, at just before 11:30 a.m., they got a call from someone in Pennsylvania saying a robbery might be in progress at the Mini Mart on Spruce Street. Police didn't say how the caller knew about the robbery.

Officer Luis Ruiz was nearby and responded to the store, where he heard what sounded like someone forcing his way out the rear door, police said. Ruiz found the store employee on the ground and restrained with duct tape, police said.

As Ruiz administered first aid, he radioed other nearby officers, who then set up a perimeter and began search, police said.

The Ewing Police K-9 team of Officer Matt Nemes and his partner, Nero started a scent track, and a helicopter from the New Jersey State Police was requested along with notification to the Lawrence Police Department, police said.

Detective David Morris was one of the officers on the perimeter, and heard a noise coming from the porch area of a house near Spruce and Fifth Street, police said. He investigated, and found Cush Johnson, 31, underneath the porch, police said.

Johnson surrendered to Morris and was arrested, police said.

Police say they learned Johnson had jumped the counter and immediately began assaulting the clerk with his fists — the clerk was talking on the phone to a friend at the time of the assault. Johnson then restrained the clerk with duct tape and took money from the register, police said.

The victim is at Capital Health at Fuld in stable but guarded condition, police said.

They're asking anyone who was a witness to the crime to contact Ewing Police Department Detective. Wolverton at 609-882-1313 ext. 5577 or the Ewing Police Tip-line at 609-882-7530.

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