They robbed the pizza delivery man, taking his cellphone, cash, car keys -- and car.
Then, when Hempstead Village police officers spotted the stolen vehicle, the driver jumped from the car -- while it was still moving -- and fled on foot, leaving the 2013 Toyota Corolla to crash into a parked car.
The incident began on Laurel Street in Hempstead at 10:43 p.m. Monday, Nassau County police said. Investigators are still trying to locate the five suspects and are asking anyone with information call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.
Police identified the pizza delivery man only as a 58-year-old male and said he was delivering a pie to a home on Laurel Street when he was approached by one of the suspects, who said he needed to "get money" to pay for the pizza. The thief then grabbed the delivery man as four others "approached the victim from behind" -- punching and kicking him, then rifling through his pockets, police said.
The group stole the cash, phone and car keys, then took the Toyota. Hempstead police saw the car on Walnut Street and attempted to begin a traffic stop when police said the driver "exited the vehicle while it was still in motion."
The car then crashed.
About an hour after the incident, a similar street robbery took place at a bus stop on Fulton Avenue in Hempstead, police said. Nassau police said they will investigate if there are any ties between the two crimes.
In the second robbery, police said a 27-year-old man was approached by three unknown suspects who also appeared to wait for the bus. One punched the victim in the face, causing bruises and bleeding, police said, while the other two punched and threw the man to the ground -- going through his pockets.
The suspects stole a wallet containing credit cards and cash, and a cellphone.
The robbers fled.
The victim walked to the Hempstead Village police station, where he reported the robbery. Police said the victim then was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.