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Men test-drive car, then use it in robbery


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Men test-drive car, then use it in robbery

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Two men took a preowned Lexus out for what was supposed to be a test drive. But instead they used the vehicle as a getaway car for a bank robbery — and returned it to the dealership when they were done.

Mercer County's Hamilton Township police have arrested and charged Ryan Johnson, 33, and James Hodge, 32, of robbing the First Constitution Bank in neighboring Hamilton Square, Lt. Mike Woods said.

One of the men borrowed a white 1990 Lexus LS400 from Acres Auto Complex on Friday, telling dealership manager Johnny Dollar he was considering buying the $4,000 luxury sedan.

But the man sped off before Dollar could give him a copy of the registration and insurance. At first, Dollar wasn't worried, but when he didn't return after an hour and a half, the dealership manager reported the vehicle stolen.

The suspects later returned the Lexus to the dealership and drove off in their red Dodge van. But police were in hot pursuit, arriving at the car dealership after hearing reports that a white Lexus had also been involved in a bank robbery.

Police pursued the van for several miles and across the asbestos-contaminated former W.R. Grace Co. property, capturing them after a chase on foot. One of the suspects, Hodge, was treated at a hospital for chest pains stemming from asthma.

All of the stolen money was recovered, but Woods declined to reveal the amount.

Both men were being held Sunday on $50,000 bail each.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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