Police are poring over several tips from the public and patrol officers are distributing "wanted" fliers to gas station attendants hoping to catch a serial armed robber -- dubbed Monday by a high-ranking police official as "Long Island's most wanted."
The thief, who has robbed 15 gas stations from Elmont to Riverhead since August, is "considered Long Island's most wanted right now by Nassau and Suffolk counties," Nassau Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki said Monday. In most of the robberies, the suspect was described as wearing either a white or black bucket hat -- though a police sketch released this month showed the man wearing a black-and-white baseball cap. Another common thread in the robberies is that the suspect has covered his handgun in a cloth or T-shirt, police said. He is described as being about 5-foot-8, in his 20s, with a thin build.
"We've had several calls into our Crime Stoppers line, which is what we were hoping for," Skrynecki said. "Our investigators are following up on those leads right now."
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter last week announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the thief's arrest.
The FBI is helping to investigate the spate of robberies, which began with a BP station holdup Aug. 4 in Hempstead. The latest robbery occurred last Wednesday at a Mobil station on Old Country Road in Westbury -- the ninth Nassau heist. He's believed to have robbed at least six stations in Suffolk.
Skrynecki declined to detail any of the tips, but said "it's too early to say whether they're credible; every one will be thoroughly examined." The chief urged the public to keep the tips coming.
"You don't have to be certain that it is this person ... if there's a possibility, we would love them to call and welcome the opportunity to work that up."
Anyone with information about the suspect can call Nassau Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477. Suffolk police also have asked anyone with information to call Suffolk Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.