DA: Jury convicts Elmont gas station robber
A Queens man faces up to 15 years in prison after a Nassau County jury convicted him Friday of robbing an Elmont gas station at gunpoint in October 2011.
Steven Thomas, 26, of Jamaica, was found guilty of second-degree robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced May 13.
Thomas' lawyer, Muhammad Ikhlas, of Queens Village, said his client maintains his innocence and intends to appeal.
On the morning of Oct. 5, 2011, Thomas entered the Liberty gas station on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, pointed a pistol at the clerk and stole several thousand dollars in cash, prosecutors said.
After Thomas walked out, the clerk ran outside and screamed for help, prosecutors said. An off-duty Nassau police officer who was getting gas saw Thomas running away, identified himself as a cop, and ordered Thomas to stop.
Prosecutors said the officer fired one shot when Thomas moved for his gun. Thomas threw the gun aside and ran south on Stone Street, cutting through backyards and dropping a glove, mask and blue hooded sweatshirt along the way.
Prosecutors said the officer continued to chase Thomas, and fired another shot when Thomas made a motion toward his waistband.
Thomas was found one block south of the gas station on Rosalind Avenue, hiding in a white Ford SUV under a sheet with a gunshot wound to the right side of his neck, prosecutors said.
Thomas' blood and DNA were found on the discarded items, according to authorities.