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Knife-wielding robber hits Subway in Queens, likely tied to string, NYPD says

The NYPD says this suspect, shown Wednesday, June

The NYPD says this suspect, shown Wednesday, June 1, 2016, robbing a Subway restaurant in Bayside, likely struck again Friday, June 3, 2016, this time at a Subway restaurant in Forest Hills. The man is suspected in a series of knife-wielding robberies in Queens and in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Credit: NYPD / Queens Robbery Squad

A masked man armed with a knife robbed a Subway restaurant in Queens in what the NYPD says is likely connected to a string of nearly two dozen similar robberies throughout the borough and in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

About 9 p.m. Friday, the suspect — wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and mask — walked into the shop at 64-29 108th St. in Forest Hills and approached a 20-year-old male employee, displayed a knife and demanded cash, a NYPD spokesman said.

The employee complied and handed over the register drawer that contained between $300 and $400 in cash, the spokesman said. No one was injured before the robber fled south on 108th Street in what police said was a gray Honda.

Police responded to a 911 call for a robbery in progress and later recovered the register drawer in front of 108-40 64th Rd., the spokesman said.

The NYPD has dubbed the string of robberies citywide crime pattern 90, which began in Nassau County.

The suspect in that pattern most recently hit another Subway shop at 205-12 Northern Blvd. in Bayside, Queens, about 9:25 p.m. Wednesday, where he displayed a knife and took off with a register drawer containing $400.

Three similar robberies in New York City happened last month. Police have linked them based partly on photos and video that have been taken of the robber in Suffolk, Nassau and Queens.

Nassau County police said they knew about the Forest Hills robbery and would work with other law enforcement agencies to find the man if Friday’s robbery was determined to be part of the string.

“Detectives have been in contact with New York City police to see if the person who committed that robbery is the same individual responsible for robberies in Nassau County,” Lt. Richard LeBrun said in a statement Saturday. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to the east and the west to apprehend the person responsible.”

Although Suffolk police did not provide any new information Saturday about the four robberies in the county, a spokeswoman said the investigations remained open and police were collaborating with other law enforcement agencies.

The most recent similar robbery on Long Island was in Suffolk at a Subway on May 18 in North Lindenhurst.

The robber uses a large butcher knife, which police have said was uncommon in this type of crime.

At Dunkin’ Donuts in Massapequa Park, off Sunrise Highway, night shift manager Adeel Mohammed said the store had tried to make a few changes after the masked man robbed the store on April 10.

“We don’t keep the big bills” in the cash register, he said. “We don’t have that much money in there anymore.”

The store already had an alarm system, but Mohammed, who was not working at the time of robbery, said they had looked into installing a button near the register to call for help.

Plainclothes and uniformed NYPD officers have been stationed near major highway entry and exit ramps close to small businesses, because many of the heists on both Long Island and Queens have taken place near major roadways.

Officials have said the robber has struck 17 times on Long Island, 13 of them in Nassau, since March 1. The FBI is now assisting in the hunt.

The suspect in the pattern has been described as 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build, most often wearing a dark hooded jacket, blue jeans and tan work boots. He usually covers his face with dark sunglasses and a dark cloth, police said.

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