Suffolk detectives lying in wait Wednesday night arrested two men suspected in a string of robberies in the county since December as one tried to hold up a Blue Point doughnut shop, police said Thursday.
Andrew Berger, 27, and Matthew McGurk, 25, each pleaded not guilty at their arraignment yesterday, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office.
Wednesday night, Berger pointed a handgun at a detective inside the Dunkin' Donuts who then fired shots but missed the Williston Park man, authorities said. No one in the shop was injured, police said.
Two detectives on the surveillance unit nabbed McGurk, of Commack, in a nearby getaway car, police said.
"The detective . . . opened fire and fired a total of six shots," Suffolk Police Chief of Department James Burke said.
The two are suspected in 12 armed robberies of gas stations and doughnut shops between Dec. 22 and Wednesday, police said. Along with the Wednesday night holdup, police said, the pair robbed stores in West Hills, St. James, Smithtown, Commack, Huntington Station, Holbrook, Bohemia, Farmingville and Deer Park.
Berger and McGurk got away with $300 to $1,000 each time, Chief of Detectives William Madigan said.
Madigan said authorities are awaiting ballistic results to see if the handgun used Wednesday was loaded.
Detectives first linked the robberies Dec. 29, police said. Berger, who has an attempted-robbery conviction, was among several suspects and locations put under surveillance, said police, adding that they would not say how long detectives watched him. Several under surveillance as the robberies occurred were eliminated as suspects.
Investigators determined a lone bandit committed recent robberies, which threw off detectives because two suspects were believed to have done the earlier holdups, Madigan said.
Police did not say how they linked the pair to the other robberies but both masked suspects were caught on camera.
Wednesday, detectives watched as Berger "emerged from a vehicle, approached the Dunkin' Donuts, donned his ski mask and pulled out his weapon," Madigan said. Officers responded immediately, he said.
A detective followed Berger in and opened fire after the suspect pointed a handgun, Madigan said. The detective suffered from extreme stress and was treated at a hospital.
McGurk's record includes a misdemeanor drug possession charge, court records show.
Berger's bail was set at $1.2 million cash or $3.6 million bond. McGurk's bail was set at $600,000 cash or $900,000 bond.
"These individuals, they face a lot of jail time and quite frankly, they're going to get a lot of jail time," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota said at the news conference.
With William Murphy
and Candice Ruud