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Cops ‘fairly certain’ robber in Nassau, Suffolk are same man

A Suffolk police officer stands outside a Commack

A Suffolk police officer stands outside a Commack Carvel store Tuesday night after it was robbed by a suspect officials believe is likely behind 11 similar holdups in Nassau since March 1. Credit: Stringer News Service

A knife-wielding robber suspected in nearly a dozen Nassau holdups is the likely culprit in a similar Commack heist, Suffolk police said Wednesday.

The holdup of a Commack Road ice cream shop Tuesday night occurred hours after Nassau detectives declared the armed suspect’s capture “priority No. 1.”

Suffolk police said the robber in Commack wore a black hooded sweatshirt like the suspect in the robberies of the 11 Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Elevens and sandwich and ice cream shops in Nassau since March 1, Suffolk police said.

He wore a unique item of clothing donned in some of the Nassau robberies, said Suffolk Chief of Department Stuart Cameron, who declined to identify the specific garment.

“We believe it’s similar to a crime pattern that’s occurring in Nassau County,” Cameron said, adding that detectives are checking to see if the suspect in the Commack holdup is behind a knife point robbery of a Copiague Carvel store at about 9:30 p.m. March 5.

Suffolk police said the suspect in the latest robbery appeared to stake out a Carvel ice cream shop at 110 Commack Rd. in Commack. He entered at closing time and demanded money at knife point from the lone employee inside, police said.

Investigators believe the same suspect who committed the holdup Tuesday night is behind the Nassau robberies, Cameron said, “based on the description of the suspect from reviewing the video from” the Commack heist.

In Nassau, the suspect has hit six Dunkin’ Donuts, two Subway stores, one 7-Eleven and two Carvel ice cream shops in a 16-mile radius between 9 p.m. and midnight. He last robbed a New Hyde Park Subway just before 10 a.m. Monday, Nassau police said Tuesday as they released an image of the suspect captured on video.

Hours after Nassau police released the image, the suspect in the Commack robbery walked into the ice cream shop at about 9 p.m. and demanded money, Suffolk police said. He threatened to hurt the employee, who tried to run out the store after the register didn’t open, Cameron said, but the robber grabbed the worker and forced her to open it.

The man got away on foot with about $500, Cameron said. The employee was not injured, police said.

Nassau Det. Lt. Richard Lebrun said Tuesday that although no one has been injured in the Nassau robberies, “anybody holding a 6-to-7-inch knife is a dangerous individual, especially when they hold it up and point it at you and they say, “Open the register.”

Witnesses described the robber in the Nassau holdups as about 6 feet tall, with a medium build, who hid his face with sunglasses or a bandanna. The suspect in Commack and Nassau wore dark-colored clothing, usually a hooded jacket or sweatshirt, said police in both counties.

Authorities encourage anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477. Tips will be kept confidential.

With Ellen Yan and Gary Dymski

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