Long Island’s masked robber has moved his one man crime spree west to Queens and is now being hunted by the NYPD, officials said Thursday.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce and a department spokesman said Thursday they believe the Long Island robber is the same man who came into a Subway sandwich store at 205-12 Northern Boulevard in Bayside at about 9:25 p.m. Wednesday, displayed a knife and ran out with a register drawer containing $400.
Just last month, there were four similar robberies in the city and the NYPD had dubbed it citywide crime pattern 90. Last week, the NYPD had said the Queens robberies appeared to be related to those in Nassau and Suffolk.
But Thursday NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said: “We firmly believe this is the same guy.” He said that belief is partly based on videos and photos that have been taken of the robber in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens.
On Long Island, the most recent similar robbery was in Suffolk, at a Subway sandwich shop in North Lindenhurst on May 18, Suffolk police said.
Among the similarities in the pattern are the robber’s use of a large butcher knife — a rarity in commercial holdups, police said — his habit of wearing a hoodie and mask when he hits the eateries and his taking of cash from the register drawer, sometimes taking the whole drawer.
Since many of the 21 small sandwich and convenience stores hit by the knife-wielding thief on both Long Island and Queens have been near major highways, cops are being deployed near major exit and entry ramps that are close to similar small businesses, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
“We have a very large deployment of plainclothes and uniformed officers at these access points to the expressways,” explained Boyce in a briefing to reporters Thursday.
The most recent incident Wednesday night in Bayside took place one block from the entry ramp to the southbound Clearview Expressway.
“He walks several blocks off so we can’t get the car he comes in, we believe he is driving a car, gets back on the parkway and is gone,” said Boyce about the latest Queens incident, part of four in the city so far.
He said the pattern indicates a westward movement toward Manhattan, saying “It is almost like he is moving towards the city.”
The other locations hit in the city hit were; a Carvel at 103-21 Metropolitan Avenue on May 11; a Dunkin’ Donuts, at 146-36 45h Avenue on May 23 and another Dunkin’ Donut at 163-02 Cross Bay Boulevard on May 25.
Authorities said that the robber has struck 17 times on Long Island, mostly in Nassau County. Boyce said he has been in continuous contact with Nassau County police Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith as part of the joint investigation.
Since March 1, a masked robber has collected cash from 13 Nassau County small businesses and four more in Suffolk County, officials from each department have said.
Thursday a spokeswoman for the Suffolk police said the investigation remained a high priority. A spokesman for the NCPD couldn’t be reached for comment but a spokesman said in April the robber’s capture was the department’s “priority #1.”
Last Friday, both Nassau and Suffolk police said they were working with NYPD and the FBI to catch the suspect.
Analysts in Suffolk’s Homeland Security and Criminal Intelligence Bureau have drawn up a profile of the robber, hoping to understand his background, motives, family status and living conditions, officials said.
The robber has been described as 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build. He has most often has worn a dark-colored hooded jacket, bluejeans and tan work boots. He usually covers his face with dark sunglasses and a dark-colored cloth, police said.
— With Ellen Yan and Gary Dymski