A Camden woman is charged with robbing the Chews Landing Road Rite Aid at gunpoint Tuesday night, and police are crediting a taxi driver with aiding in the woman's apprehension.
The taxi driver, having witnessed an employee struggling with the woman inside the store, refused to let her enter the cab, according to Gloucester Township Police Deputy Chief David Harkins.
The robbery suspect, identified by police as Lauren J. Bianco, 28, of Camden's Tamarac Apartments, turned herself in Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 following an extensive manhunt that began shortly after the robbery.
Bianco was being held in Camden County Jail on $250,000 cash bail Wednesday evening. She is charged with armed robbery, possession of weapon for unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Police responded to the Rite Aid at about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday on a report of an armed robbery. Authorities learned a female suspect entered the store after arriving in a taxi, approached the clerk for a pack of cigarettes, then withdrew a handgun from her jacket and demanded the clerk open the register.
The clerk complied, and the suspect grabbed approximately $100 from the drawer.
The store manager observed the robbery on a surveillance monitor in an office. As the suspect attempted to leave the store, the manager came out of the office, and tackled the suspect by the front doors. The suspect pushed the manager and fled out the front door.
The taxi driver saw Bianco fighting the manager and refused to let her into the taxi cab by locking its doors, Harkins said.
The taxi driver then called 911 to report the incident. Investigators recovered Bianco's identification, pocketbook and personal belongings from inside the taxi, Harkins said.
Responding officers conducted a search of the surrounding area, but investigation revealed she had been picked up and transported to Camden in another vehicle a short time after the armed robbery.
The taxi was also occupied by a female acquaintance of the suspect, but investigation revealed the 35-year-old woman did not participate in the robbery.
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