Police smashed open the locked front door of the Capitol Hill Beauty Salon Friday and surprised three armed men in the process of robbing about 20 customers and hairdressers.

The police had been alerted by a cabdriver who was speaking by phone to one of the hairdressers when the robbers burst in.

Charged with armed robbery are David J. Smith, 25, of Hillside; Zachary Hood, 19, of Capitol Heights, and Leonard J. Edison, 27, of Seat Pleasant.

Police said the robbers entered the salon Friday at 12:45 p.m., ordered the women to lie on the bathroom floor, and dumped the contents of the women's pocketbooks on the floor.

There was money every where, all over the floor," said the salon's owner, Patricia White. "I was just so shocked. I couldn't believe it."

The robbers then ordered White to open the cash register. When the cash register would not open, one of the robbers allegedly hit White's head with his gun, sending her sprawling to the floor. White was later given stitches at a hospital and released.

Finally, another woman opened the cash register. The robbers took the money and tried to flee out the back door but failed because it has bars on it. The robbers then tried to flee out the front door, but by that time, police came to the door.