A Holtsville man who is accused of shoplifting razors from an East Rockaway CVS last week and of carjacking a vehicle to get away, has been arrested and charged with stealing from CVS stores a total of four times in eight days, Nassau police said Monday.
David Melis, 59, of 739 Waverly Ave., was arrested Friday in front of his home in connection with Wednesday's CVS robbery and carjacking, and thefts from three CVS locations a week earlier, police said Monday.
Melis' attorney, Mark Nadjar, of Commack, vigorously denied the charges against Melis, who is his brother-in-law. Nadjar said he has alibi evidence placing Melis in Suffolk County on Wednesday at the time of the robbery and Melis doesn't fit the initial police description of the suspect. Nadjar said "the police are basically singling him out based on the open charges in Suffolk" in which Melis is charged with forgery, when officials said he wrote about $400 in bad checks in November 2012. That case is pending.
"This is not the guy," said Nadjar, who acknowledged his client's prior arrest, but noted he was never accused of violent acts. "They got the wrong guy."
In Wednesday's robbery of the CVS at 488 Ocean Ave., police said store employees saw Melis stealing razors and after he left the store, the manager and another employee chased him westbound on Prospect Avenue, then struggled with him before recovering the stolen razors.
Melis kept going on Prospect Avenue, police said, then confronted a woman about to enter her running car, pushed her out of the way and jumped into the vehicle.
Other witnesses ran to help her, trying to pull the man from the car, but he put the car into reverse, struck a parked vehicle behind him and then drove across the victim's lawn before escaping, police said.
The woman's gray 2010 Toyota Corolla has not been recovered, police said Monday.
Melis was charged with second-degree robbery of a motor vehicle, third-degree robbery and petty larceny in Wednesday's incident. He was also charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and two counts of petty larceny in the April 14 thefts from CVS stores at 488 Ocean Ave; 494 Atlantic Ave., also in East Rockaway, and 1220 Peninsula Blvd. in Hewlett.
He was arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead and was released on a $45,000 bond. He's due back in court Tuesday.
Nadjar said he has witnesses, receipts and surveillance video that prove his client couldn't have been in East Rockaway at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Melis was captured on surveillance video picking up his niece from Sachem High School East at 2:20 p.m. that day, Nadjar said. A receipt from an auto body shop in Holbrook, which Nadjar says shows Melis paying to pick up his sister's car, is time-stamped an hour later at 3:20 p.m. Witnesses remember seeing Melis at an Outback Steakhouse from 4 to 4:56 p.m., Nadjar said.
"There's no way he could have been in East Rockaway," said Nadjar. "I'm going to have to hire traffic experts to tell a jury there's no way someone went from Holtsville to East Rockaway in 20 minutes."
On the allegations that Melis got way from two store employees and fled by carjacking, Nadjar said: "He's a little 59-year-old guy. I don't think it's possible he would escape."