A predawn thief deliberately drove into the large glass doors of a Bay Shore gas station’s storefront to steal merchandise before driving off in the getaway vehicle on Wednesday morning, Suffolk County police said.
Robert Persad, 42, of Bay Shore, was the driver of a 2001 Hyundai sedan that crashed into the store, police said in a statement. He was arrested in Deer Park at 10:07 p.m. Wednesday after an investigation.
Video from the store’s surveillance camera shows the car's wheels spinning as the driver struggles to flee because the crash caused water to leak onto the floor tile, creating an exceptionally slippery surface. Also, part of a metal door frame was caught on one of the car’s doors, store owner Javeed Ayub said by telephone.
“There are tire marks inside the store,” along with pieces of tire, he said.
After freeing the car, the thief returned — on foot — to steal items, from cigarettes to about $2,000 in lottery cash, Ayub said.
“That was like a bold move,” he said, while noting an inventory has not yet been finished. “And you know, it’s a lot of damage; it was a disaster.”
Photographs show officials examining the wreckage in the store, and items strewn about the floor. The theft at the Sunoco gas station Food Mart, at 1400 Brentwood Rd., occurred about 3:20 a.m., police said.
Persad was charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief, police said.
At arraignment Thursday, bail was set at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash, according to online court records. Persad is represented by the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County, the records state. No one from that office could be reached Thursday.
When the store can reopen was not yet known. Ayub said he plans to get a construction estimate. Around $25,000 worth of damage was done, not to mention the lost business and inconvenience to his regular customers, he said.
The crime, he said, has left him with a sense of disquiet and unease.
“We are part of the community; we work hard to build something up,” he said. “Thank God, nobody got hurt because it happened during the night, but what if somebody was here when it happened?”