By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Three men are in custody while a fourth suspect remains on the run after a barricade situation at a Chestnut Hill shopping center on Sunday. The incident began around 12:50 p.m. at a Sprint store located on the 7700 block of Crittenden Street.

It was a scary Sunday afternoon in Chestnut Hill that saw armored police – assault rifles in hand – engaged in a standoff with would-be robbers who targeted the store with customers and employees inside. The entire shopping center was evacuated during the situation.

Stores in the shopping center are open, but the Sprint store remains closed after the attempted robbery.

An employee who was held hostage told Eyewitness News that three men, armed and wearing masks, came into the store and demanded access to the safe.

Shortly after, police arrived and the standoff began.

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“We were scared to death inside because the policemen came in, all into the restaurant,” the employee said. “They had the big guns on them. I saw the man come out of the car and he had a mask on, like he wasn’t fully masked but it was half way.”

Three Sprint employees were briefly held hostage, according to authorities, before they were able to escape.

“Two black males entered the store and announced the robbery. Those two males went to the rear of the store to open up the door and let in a third black male,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Melvin Singleton said. “After a while of a standoff, we were able to ascertain that two of the males wanted to surrender and the other male we had to apprehend inside.”

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The third suspect was found hiding in the store’s ceiling, police say.

According to an employee, it’s the second time the Sprint store was robbed in about a month. The store opened at the location about a year ago.

“I can’t understand why they keep targeting the Sprint store, for what reason?” Minnie Harris, a neighbor, said.

The standoff ended peacefully with three arrests and no one injured.

“Luckily no employee was injured, luckily the males actually that we found inside were not injured, no officer,” Singleton said. “So basically these things are very, very dangerous.”

Police say the fourth suspect fled in a 2002 dark grey or black Nissan with the license plate K-W-E-5-0-7-9.

CBS3’s Chantee Lans reports.