Two knife-wielding men robbed a department store Thursday in St. Mary's County and then led authorities on a chase into Charles County, law enforcement officials said.

In documents filed in St. Mary's County District Court, authorities allege that Kenneth Morris Barnes, 37, and Mikal Dennard Barnes, 35, forced their way into the office of Belk Department Store in California at 11:15 a.m. Thursday.

They demanded money from two employees, according to the court documents.

Kenneth Barnes grabbed one of the employees by the neck and held a knife to her throat, while Mikal Barnes took the other worker into the back room of the office area where the store's money is kept, the court files said. The two men took more than $10,000 in cash and checks that customers had made out to Belk, said Cpl. William Rosado of the St. Mary's Sheriff Office.

The two men fled in a black Buick Century and were pursued by officers from the sheriff's departments of Charles and St. Mary's counties and the Maryland State Police, authorities said.

Rosado said officers used "stop sticks" to stop the car on Route 5, just south of Route 488 in Charles County. The vehicle hit a pickup truck and veered onto the shoulder of the road, at which point the two men ran into woods.

When deputies caught up with the two men, the officers recovered the stolen money and two knives, according to the charging documents.

Kenneth and Mikal Barnes are both from Prince George's County, and despite having the same last name, they are not believed to be related, authorities said.

They have each been charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault and one count of a theft greater than $500.

At a hearing Friday morning, they were ordered held without bail at the St. Mary's County Detention Center.