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Long IslandNassau

Cops: Valley Stream commercial robbery among 9 similar heists in Nassau

A surveillance photo of a person of interest

A surveillance photo of a person of interest for a string of commercial robberies in North Woodmere and Valley Stream is shown at left. Evan's Corner in Valley Stream was one of several businesses robbed at knifepoint since February. Credit: NCPD/Steve Pfost

The same knife-wielding suspect is responsible for a string of nine commercial robberies in Nassau since February, including one on Tuesday, authorities said Wednesday.

Most of the robberies occurred in Valley Stream, police said, but others took place in North Woodmere, Franklin Square and Elmont.

A police bulletin, released Wednesday along with a surveillance photo, said the suspect, armed with a large kitchen knife, "demands the cash from the register" and "takes the entire cash drawer with him from the register."

Police spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack said, "This individual is certainly dangerous. He goes in there, he's very aggressive, he's threatened people with the knife before."

One business owner said he tussled with the suspect after the man demanded money.

"I was so scared," said Natha Singh, 56, an employee at another business, a Shell gas station on Rosedale Road in North Woodmere that was robbed Feb. 9.

Singh said he was counting the day's proceeds around closing, when the suspect, wearing a mask and gloves and carrying the knife, walked in shortly before 9:30 p.m.

This time, the suspect was silent as he walked over to the register, according to Singh. Singh managed to slip out of the store, but didn't bring his cellphone, he said.

He borrowed a phone from a stranger and called police, Singh said. The suspect took the money drawer, which had $400, Singh said, and left.

Police said Evan's Corner, a Valley Stream convenience store on Rockaway Avenue, was the next business to be robbed, on Feb. 24 around 2:17 p.m.

The store owner, who identified himself only as Peter, said his left hand was cut in a struggle with the suspect. Authorities said a white Hyundai vehicle with New York plates was seen at the scene.

Among the other robberies that took place later were at an Elmont Little Caesars around 9:10 p.m. on July 1 and a Carvel in Franklin Square around 10:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Lack said police have "intensified" patrols around commercial businesses because of the pattern.

"Intelligence bulletins were distributed to every officer in the department and post cars in the affected areas are very aware of the pattern and the suspect they are looking for," he said.

The suspect is described as about 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin build and "wearing a black hooded sweatshirt under a ski mask or scarf covering his lower face, gloves, and white-soled sneakers."

On Tuesday, police said he struck again.

An employee at a Select Beauty Supply on North Central Avenue in Valley Stream said she was helping a customer near the hair counter when she heard her boss scream.

The employee turned around and saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt and mask heading to the door.

"I just went cold," said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Police ask anyone with information regarding these robberies to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

All calls will remain confidential and callers are eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000 for any information leading to an arrest, police said.

With Nicole Fuller

and John Valenti


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