A Huntington man crashed his housekeeper's Jeep in Oyster Bay Cove, then broke into a nearby home -- ransacking it and killing a cat -- before menacing passing motorists with a kitchen knife and robbing two students in their school bus, police said Thursday.
The Oyster Bay High School students victimized in the robbery were "unharmed and are fine," said Tom Gould, a spokesman for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District. Nassau County police also said no students were injured.
The suspect, Nicholas Patrikis, 23, of 17 Royal Oak Dr., resisted arrest, but was finally subdued by officers from the Oyster Bay Cove village police inside the school bus Wednesday morning, Nassau police Insp. Kenneth Lack said at a news briefing Thursday. He called the case "one of the more unusual I've seen in my career."
After his arrest, Patrikis was taken to the psychiatric ward at Nassau University Medical Center for a medical evaluation before being charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree robbery, second-degree criminal mischief, aggravated cruelty to animals, second-degree menacing, fourth-degree possession of a dangerous weapon, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and resisting arrest, police said. Police did not release the results of the evaluation.
Patrikis pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday morning in First District Court in Hempstead, a spokesman for the Nassau district attorney's office said. His bail was set at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and a stay-away order was issued. The district attorney's office would not specify whom the stay-away order protects. Patrikis is due back in court Monday.
Patrikis' attorney, Gregory Grizopoulos, said he requested and was granted by the judge a psychiatric evaluation for his client, whose family believes he has "mental health issues." The evaluation has not yet been completed, said Grizopoulos.
"The conduct is so out of character and bizarre," said Grizopoulos, of Westbury. "His mom definitely thinks there are some mental health issues. . . . They're [Patrikis' parents] very upset. They're very supportive of him and very concerned for his well-being. The conduct that's being alleged is not their son. It's so out of character."
Police said that at about 11 a.m. Patrikis, driving a 2000 Jeep Wrangler -- which he took without permission from his housekeeper -- lost control on northbound Cove Road and crashed into a snowbank, then a fence in front of a home on Royston Lane.
Patrikis left the Jeep, scaled the fence of an unoccupied home, broke into the front door, damaged outdoor furnishings, ransacked "several rooms, destroying personal property" and stole jewelry, police said. He also took a "black-handled" kitchen knife, Lack said. Lack said Patrikis also "bludgeoned" a 3-year-old pet cat to death.
Once Patrikis left the residence he blocked traffic, threatened motorists with the kitchen knife and tried to steal a car by "forcibly removing the female victim [from her car] by grabbing her from the head and the neck," Lack said.
Patrikis then managed to board the school bus through the rear emergency door and robbed the two students.
Lack said Patrikis stole a "blue Nintendo DS game system" and a black and gray backpack from the students, whose ages were unknown.Gould, the school district spokesman, said the bus company transporting the students immediately alerted authorities, and police, as well as the high school principal, assistant principals and district administrators responded to the scene.
"Nassau County police ... assure us that there is no present threat as the individual, who is not an Oyster Bay resident, was apprehended immediately and is in custody," Gould said. "The safety of all members of our learning community is always of paramount importance."
Police said the entire incident appears to have been random and that the home was not targeted by Patrikis.
Lack said Patrikis was arrested in Suffolk County in 2014 and charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, which resulted in an adjourment of contemplation of dismissal.