JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) – Two staffers of a tobacco store were duct taped and ordered to lie on the floor during an armed robbery Tuesday afternoon in southwest suburban Joliet.

At 3:45 p.m. four men, one of whom was wearing a ski mask and armed with  a handgun, entered Jefferson Tobacco, in the 2200 block of West Jefferson Street and announced a robbery, according to Joliet Police Lt. Jeff Allbert. A man and a woman in their early 20s were working inside at the time.

“They came in, one guy pulled a black handgun, pointed it at them and told them to lie on the ground,’’ Allbert said.

The employees were bound with duct tape and plastic while the robbers got away with $3,000 cash, 108 cartons of Newport cigarettes worth about $3,000, a laptop, and a couple of cell phones, according to the lieutenant.

They also grabbed ten extra packs–also of Newports–before fleeing in a dark colored Chevrolet Cavalier, Allbert  said.

The employees were able to somehow use a knife to cut themselves free, and they called 911. The employees were not physically injured, according to the lieutenant.

The assailants were described males, at least one who appeared to be about 40. They were between 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-5 and 165 to 230 pounds, and were wearing dark clothing, according to the lieutenant.

They were not in custody as of 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

<em>(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire &copy; Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)</em>

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