Nassau County police are stepping up their presence around stores that operate at night, a day after a masked machete-wielding robber struck an ice cream shop in Bethpage — the third incident of its kind and the latest in a new pattern, officials said on Wednesday.
The Tuesday night robbery was similar to a pair of incidents that happened in February, when a machete-wielding man tried but failed to rob a doughnut shop in Seaford but successfully robbed an ice cream shop in South Farmingdale, police said.
Nassau police officials said investigators determined that both incidents are part of the pattern.
The revelation of the latest robbery pattern comes a month after officials said they would be stepping up patrols in the areas where the two previous machete incidents happened.
In response, Nassau County police spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said there would be more officers on patrol and that they would stay in neighborhoods as long as possible, watching customers as they enter and exit stores. There will also be a presence from the criminal intelligence rapid response team, the bureau of special operations and even plain-clothed officers.
“Any convenience store that’s open late at night, we’re intensifying our patrols looking for this individual,” LeBrun said.
On Tuesday, a masked man with a machete entered the Carvel store at 4246 Hicksville Rd. in Bethpage about 9:55 p.m., displayed the machete, went behind the counter and demanded money from a 19-year-old woman working the counter, police said. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.
He was seen heading south toward Iris Place and entering a silver- or tan-colored four-door sedan that went south on Hicksville Road.
The woman was not hurt, police said.
In this instance, the robber was described as being 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall and wearing a black hooded jacket and mask and gloves.
Last month, an unknown man first entered the Dunkin’ Donuts at 4007 Merrick Rd. in Seaford at 9:12 p.m. on Feb. 15, displayed the machete and demanded money, police said. After being told there was no money, the man fled through the parking lot, police said.
In that incident, he was described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and wearing a black hat, a dark-colored jacket, black and white sneakers and black gloves.
Police said they believe the same man entered the Carvel store at 317 Northwest Dr. in South Farmingdale at 9:43 p.m., displayed a machete and demanded money.
The cashier, who had been counting money in the tip container, handed him that money — about $40, police said. He then ran north on foot on Hart Street, police said.
The cashier was one of three young women working in the store at the time of the robbery, police officials said.
The Carvel robber was described as wearing a dark-colored jacket, a black ski hat and white sneakers, and had a gray scarf covering his face.
Despite the robbery pattern, LeBrun said the patrols have been effective.
“The intensified patrols have been working as we have seen a 39 percent drop in commercial robberies so far this year,” said LeBrun, who advised anyone that comes in contact with the machete robber to surrender the cash and call 911.
Detectives asked that anyone with information regarding the robberies should call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.
Another machete-style robbery happened on Monday, this time in Copiague, Suffolk County police officials said. A man menacing with a machete entered a Subway shop at 1195 Sunrise Hwy. at 8:20 p.m. Monday and demanded cash, police said. Investigators believe this robbery is not part of the pattern, police said.
With William Murphy