A Deer Park man faces charges in a robbery spree after his neighbor recognized him on a store surveillance video showing one of the crimes, prompting the suspect to go to police and confess, Suffolk County police said Thursday in announcing the arrest.
Joseph Cassese, 55, went to the police Wednesday and initially denied it was him on the video taken during a May 16 robbery of a Subway in Bay Shore, but then admitted to a string of fast-food restaurant robberies, saying he needed to fuel his substance addiction, Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said at a news conference. He was arrested that day, Sini said.
Police said Cassese was responsible for three robberies — two of them at Subway restaurants and one at a KFC — and an attempted robbery of another Subway, all of which took place last month.
“These were quick robberies,” Sini said. “He typically went straight up to the cashier, demanded the cash, got the cash in a matter of seconds, and left.”
On Tuesday night, police released video of a knife-wielding man in the robbery of the Bay Shore Subway shop on Bay Shore Road — the video Cassese’s neighbor told Cassese he saw.
The video shows the suspect entering the store wearing shorts and a green sweatshirt, then eventually demanding cash. Police said the suspect fled the scene with $150 to $200 in a sport utility vehicle.
Sini touted the clear image from the surveillance camera as a crime-fighting tool.
“Video surveillance is extremely helpful assisting the Suffolk County Police Department in solving crimes such as commercial robberies,” Sini said. “High quality video surveillance is key.”
In addition to the Bay Shore robbery, police said Cassese also was responsible for another Subway robbery, this one on Tuesday on Fifth Avenue in North Bay Shore. In that one the suspect had a handgun in his waistband and stole $200, police said.
Police said Cassese first robbed a KFC on Deer Park Avenue in Deer Park on May 1 and on May 16 tried to rob a Subway on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station.
Cassese, who has no criminal history, is charged with three felony counts of robbery in the first degree and one felony count of attempted robbery in the first degree, court records show.
He was expected to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Thursday, authorities said. No arraignment information was available online Thursday night.