A four-person crew went on a five-week robbery spree in Nassau County, using toy guns and a machete in the holdups, police officials said Saturday.
Authorities have linked seven armed robberies in Hempstead, Baldwin, Rockville Centre and Uniondale between Aug. 2 and Sept. 9 to the suspects. Small businesses, including gas stations, delis and a beauty salon, were targeted.
Juan Vallecillo, 33, and his wife, Cecilia Vallecillo, 36, both of Roosevelt; and Jaime R. Machado, 28, and Henry Armando Hernandez, 18, both of Hempstead, were arraigned on robbery charges yesterday afternoon at First District Court in Hempstead.
Judge Valerie Alexander ordered the four held on bond ranging from $120,000 to $160,000. All pleaded not guilty and were being held at the Nassau County jail Saturday night.
The alleged robbers were arrested in Hempstead late Thursday and early Friday, police said.
Two toy guns and a machete were found, along with two vehicles used in the heists, a Hyundai and a Jeep, police said. It wasn't immediately known if the crew also used a real gun.
"It's by the grace of God nobody was hurt in this spree," acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said. "In this case, they threaten the use of the machete. I can only imagine how horrifying, how scared the victims of these robberies were."
The robbers netted between $40 and $3,000 at each business, police said.
Cecilia Vallecillo was the getaway driver during six of the robberies, police officials said. She entered the business during the final robbery in Uniondale, Krumpter said.
Hernandez, Machado and Cecilia Vallecillo are each charged with seven counts of first- and second-degree robbery. Juan Vallecillo is charged with six counts of first- and second-degree robbery.
Several of the suspects made admissions to police after their arrests, authorities say in court papers.
Juan Vallecillo has convictions for assault in December 2009 and sexual misconduct in December 2001, police officials said. The other suspects do not have criminal histories.
Cecilia Vallecillo was represented Saturday by Legal Aid, whose policy generally forbids attorneys from talking to the media.
The other defendants were represented by Floral Park attorney Janis Parazzelli, who declined to comment on her clients' behalf after the arraignment.
With Robert Brodsky