EATONTOWN — A man who was almost robbed while shopping at the Monmouth Mall on Sunday ended up helping to subdue his would-be burglar with the help of other customers and mall security, police said.

The incident happened around 5 p.m. near the J.C. Penney's at the mall, when a 16-year-old teenager attempted to rob the man, according to Detective Sgt. Aaron Shaw. The teen was armed with an Airsoft pellet pistol, Shaw said.

No shots were fired during a struggle between the teen and the man, but the loud sound of a clothing rack falling during the incident was mistaken for gunshots, Shaw said.

The teen is charged with attempted robbery, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon. He is being held at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center.