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Cops: Bellport couple charged in armed robbery spree

Dalshawn Artis, 20, and Sarah Zarba, 19, both

Dalshawn Artis, 20, and Sarah Zarba, 19, both of 856 Meade Ave., Bellport, face 11 counts of first-degree robbery, Suffolk police said. Credit: Handout

A boyfriend-girlfriend team who police say went on a robbery spree armed with a BB gun used stolen cash to feed an opiate habit, officials said Monday.

Seventh Precinct officers nabbed Dalshawn Artis, 20, just after he robbed a Blockbuster video store on Montauk Highway of $300 late Sunday, police said. A 911 call alerted police who arrested Artis after he left the store.

Artis and his live-in girlfriend, Sarah Zarba, 19, of Bellport, were charged with 11 counts of first-degree robbery.

After their arrests, Zarba told police that "she was an Oxy addict . . . and they were out of money," said Det. Sgt. John Best of the Seventh Squad.

Both pleaded not guilty at arraignments in a Central Islip court Monday and were held on $10,000 cash bail per charge. Messages left for Zarba's attorney and at a phone number listed at their Meade Avenue home were not returned Monday.

The pair got between $200 and $1,200 at all but one of the robberies, when Artis left empty-handed, police said. Police said no one was injured, and Artis never fired the BB gun, which police described as a "realistic-looking" rifle they initially believed was a 9 mm rifle before it was recovered.

Police said the couple developed a clear pattern in robberies going back more than a month: they looked for small businesses with cash and a single employee at night.

With Zarba waiting at the wheel for the getaway, Artis would cover his face with a handkerchief, don a baseball cap, and enter the store with rifle and demand cash, police said.

All told, the pair allegedly hit gas stations and other small businesses in Patchogue, Shirley, and other Suffolk communities going back to Feb. 27. Police said they had minor criminal histories but could not immediately provide details.


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