Forty empty bags used to contain heroin and a hypodermic needle were found in the car of the men after robbing another gas attendant in Hopatcong Thursday morning, said.
Brian Howell of Hopatcong and Steven McCabe of Budd Lake were arrested in Paterson at about 2:30 p.m. that day when Paterson police spotted them driving the car, which had a cracked windshield, police said.
The injured gas station attendant, Mike Smith of Hopatcong, was taken to St. Clare's Hospital in Dover with head injuries and later released, police said.
Howell, 24, and McCabe, 29, each were charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, auto assault and other crimes. The pair was taken to Sussex County Jail en lieu of $75,000 bail.
Howell, McCabe and a third passenger drove into the Quick Chek parking lot around 10:30 a.m., police said. Police said the third passenger, who went inside the store, was not part of the robbery.
McCabe then got out of the car, approached a gas station attendant from behind and grabbed $289 from his hands, police said. When McCabe got back into the car, Howell drove around the rear of Quick Chek at a high speed, police said.
Then the attendant yelled for help and Smith ran to get a description of the vehicle, police said. But as Smith was running, Howell drove between the gas pump islands and crashed into him, sending Smith onto the hood of the car, into the windshield and onto the pavement, police said.
A witness, whose identity police declined to release, told investigators that Howell and McCabe were heading toward Paterson, police said.
Howell and McCabe later gave Hopatcong police Detective Ryan Tracey consent to search the vehicle, police said.
McCabe was charged with second-degree robbery, fourth-degree theft and second-degree aggravated assault by striking a gas attendant with his vehicle while fleeing the scene of a crime. Howell was charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, fourth-degree auto assault, third-degree leaving the scene of an accident with an injury, reckless driving, failure to report an accident, driving with a suspended license and driving with a cracked windshield.
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