At 12:15 p.m., police received reports that the men had gone into the Zena Jewelers store on the lower level of the mall near the Burlington Coat Factory and told people to stay back, Newark police Cmdr. Tom Milner said.
The men, one of whom had what was possibly a Mac-10 pistol, then began smashing the display cases and grabbing jewelry, Milner said.
"At that point there were some shots fired inside the store," he said.
No one was hit by the gunfire, and the suspects fled with the stolen items, running through JCPenney to the parking lot, where they got into two getaway cars, Milner said.
A security guard briefly "monitored" the vehicles, described as a white Mercedes and a black Acura or Lexus-type vehicle but did not give chase because he is not authorized to do so, Milner said.
"He did his best to be a good witness," Milner said.
It is not clear how many suspects got into each vehicle, but the cars were last seen entering northbound Interstate Highway 880.
The mall is located just off the highway near Mowry Avenue. Milner said it is not clear why the robbers fired shots, as there was apparently no resistance from employees. It
is not clear which gun or guns were fired during the robbery. The suspects are all described as black men in their 20s.
The store is closed this afternoon as employees clean up the mess and assess the damage and what property was lost.
No one was answering the phone at the jewelry store today, but an employee at Motherhood Maternity two stores down said she had heard a number of loud crashes when the robbery was happening.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Newark police at (510) 578-4237.