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Homeless man charged with three robberies

A homeless man was arrested Tuesday moments after he attempted to rob a nursery and garden center in Westbury at gunpoint, police said.

Nassau County police said an investigation linked Alec Smith, 22, to two other robberies -- one on Sept. 2 at Metro PCS on Broadway in Hicksville and an another on Saturday at a Citgo gas station on Jerusalem Avenue in Hicksville.

Police said Smith walked into Zainos Nursery on Brush Hollow Road in Westbury at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, approached a 52-year-old female cashier, produced a handgun -- and demanded money. But, police said, the cashier screamed and Smith ran off without the cash, employees in hot pursuit.

Responding police officers located Smith a short time later near the intersection of Amber Court and Cedar Road.

He was arrested without incident, police said.

Police said Smith faces two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree robbery, one count each of first-degree and second-degree attempted robbery, and two unrelated warrant charges for forgery. Details about the forgery cases were not available.

Smith is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

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