The knife-wielding serial robber wanted in Suffolk and Nassau may be the same bandit who struck twice in Queens this week, which would boost the number of heists linked to him to at least 20, police said.
NYPD officials said the Queens robberies happened at a Forest Hills Carvel on May 11, a Dunkin’ Donuts in Flushing on Monday and another Dunkin’ Donuts on Wednesday in Howard Beach.
The masked man suspected of carrying out all three crimes is about 25 years old and 6 foot tall, with a medium build, police said. He wore a dark-colored hooded jacket, jeans and tan work boots, and hid his face with dark sunglasses and a dark-colored cloth, authorities said.
“We’re not sure if it’s the same guy, but we are looking into it,” an NYPD spokesman said of the Long Island and Queens cases.
A single culprit has robbed at least 17 small businesses across Long Island since March 1 — the latest a Subway sandwich shop in North Lindenhurst on May 19, officials said. Thirteen of the robberies happened in Nassau, mostly at Dunkin’ Donuts shops.
Police in both counties say they’ve beefed up patrols in areas where police intelligence suggests he might strike next.
Analysts in Suffolk’s Homeland Security and Criminal Intelligence Bureau have also drawn up a profile of the robber, hoping to understand his background, motives, family status, and living conditions, officials said. The FBI is involved in the investigation, police said.
“It’s not uncommon the longer a pattern goes on for a person to branch out into a wider” area, said Gerard Gigante, chief of detectives for Suffolk Police. “He has branched out east, so it’s not a shock that he’s branched out west as well.”
“He may have seen more vigilant patrols at certain times and places, and that may have deterred him” from striking again on Long Island, Gigante said.
The Queens robberies mirrored the Long Island heists in a number of ways, police said, down to the type of business targeted and kind of weapon brandished.
In the May 11 heist, the robber walked into the Carvel at 103-21 Metropolitan Ave. about 9:50 p.m. and flashed a knife at the lone employee inside, police said. He ordered the worker to open the cash register, police said, then made off with about $500.
On Monday, the same man is thought to have flashed a knife inside the Dunkin’ Donuts at 146-36 Fourth Avenue about 11:30 p.m. Police said the robber demanded a male store employee open two cash registers and fled with about $600.
Two nights later, the same thief walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts at 163-02 Cross Bay Boulevard shortly before midnight, flashed a knife and stole $776, police said.
Both Nassau and Suffolk police said Friday they have been in contact with NYPD detectives and are investigating whether the Queens robberies were committed by the Long Island robber.
No one has been injured in any of the robberies.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers, which is offering a reward of $10,000, at 800-244-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.
With Gary Dymski