Records: 2 heist suspects have rap sheet
Two of the four suspects arrested in Friday's brazen heist at a Manhasset jewelry store have extensive criminal records, including a murder conviction, court records show.
The four men, all from Brooklyn, were arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead in connection with the midafternoon holdup of a London Jewelers store in Americana Manhasset mall. All four were charged with robbery and criminal use of a firearm.
One of the defendants, Javon Gamble, 31, of Bushwick Avenue, was convicted in 1995 of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. He was released from prison last December and is on parole for the rest of his life, court records show.
Suspect Leroy Nelson, 27, of Monroe Avenue, has convictions for robbery, grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property, records show. Nelson told the judge Saturday that he is employed as a trainer at LA Fitness in New Hyde Park. A gym manager did not respond to a request for comment.
The two other defendants -- Reggie Fowler, 23, of Carlton Avenue, an unemployed construction worker, and Samuel Cephas, 30, of Snyder Avenue, who said he works for a taxi company -- have no criminal record in the New York metro area, court records show.
Cephas, whom police identified as the getaway driver, was also charged with reckless endangerment and fleeing police.
A fifth suspect, believed to be in the jewelry store at the time of the robbery, has yet to be apprehended. Police initially thought a sixth person was involved -- a second driver -- but later ruled that out.
The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when four masked men entered the Northern Boulevard store wielding guns and sledgehammers, police said. The suspects grabbed Rolex and Breitling watches before fleeing in a black Cadillac Escalade driven by Cephas, police said. After a brief police pursuit, the suspects fled on foot. The four men were captured within two hours of the robbery.
The stolen luxury watches have not been recovered, Nassau County Det. Lt. Kevin Smith said.
With Hugo Kugiya