Machete-wielding Brentwood deli worker chases off robber, say cops

Suffolk County police are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who they said attempted to rob a Brentwood deli at gunpoint last month

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The machete prevailed.

A Brentwood deli worker used a machete to chase a gun-toting would-be crook from the Stop-N-Shop Deli on Crooked Hill Road on Sept. 25, Suffolk police said Monday.

Though the gunman fired his weapon during the 8 p.m. encounter, the worker was not hurt and the wannabe robber got nothing.

Elena Alvarado, who has owned the store for 14 years, said Monday she had mixed feelings about the worker's actions.

"It was good, but he shouldn't do that," said Alvarado, 48, of Brentwood. "He risked his life."

The employee has worked there about five years, is a "good worker" and lives in Brentwood with his girlfriend and two young daughters, she said. He declined interview requests Monday, she said, fearing the perpetrator, who has not been caught.

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In the store surveillance footage released by police Monday, the employee is standing behind the counter when the masked gunman, holding a silver .22 caliber pistol, enters.

The gunman fires a shot into the deli's wall, but the worker grabs the machete, quickly removing it from its sheath, and waves it aggressively at the gunman, chasing him from the store.

Alvarado said the worker refused to turn over cash to the robber.

"He thought the gun was fake; he thought it was a toy gun," Alvarado said. "That's when he pulled out the machete . . . He didn't realize it was real until he saw the bullet shells on the floor."

She said the worker had borrowed the machete from a friend's father and had stored it at the deli for about a month.

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Suffolk County police Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer, of the Third Squad, said police have received tips in the case but have yet to make an arrest.

Of the worker, Beyrer said: "I definitely would not advise that. He didn't do anything wrong, but we would advise compliance in a situation like this."

The suspect stands about 5-foot-10 and was wearing a gray mask, a black top with white stripes, dark pants and black-and-white sneakers, police said. He carried a black Air Jordan backpack.

Alvarado said though she's "proud" of the worker's instinct to protect the store, she told him, "Just give the money."

She said the store has been broken into about once a year since she's owned it but always when it was closed.

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The machete is back with its owner, she said, but the store still has a more conventional weapon under the counter: a baseball bat.

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