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Cops: Wanted ex-con robs Patchogue McDonald's

Suffolk County Police today arrested a man they

Suffolk County Police today arrested a man they say robbed a Patchogue McDonald's threatening the use of a gun. Craig Gernett allegedly walked into the McDonalds located at 499 Sunrise Highway and demanded money, while making a motion that indicated he had a gun, police say. Photo Credit: SCPD

The Hamburglar he is not.

A escaped ex-con wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service robbed a McDonald's restaurant in Patchogue -- and was caught minutes later after fleeing on foot across the highway into his roadside motel hideout, Suffolk police said.

He's been identified as Craig Gernett, 33.

Suffolk police said that on Saturday, just after 1 p.m., Gernett went into the McDoland's at 499 Sunrise Highway and threatened violence with a gun he pretended to have, unless the cashier gave him money.

"He threatened them, and he made a motion that he had a gun, with his hand," said Det. Sgt. Timothy Gozaloff, a supervisor of the Patchogue-based Fifth Squad detectives, who handled the case. "They handed him a couple hundred bucks. He actually made a threat as he was leaving . . . Something along the lines of, 'I'm still going to come back to kill you.' I don't know why he said that."

Gernett bolted across 10 lanes of Sunrise Highway traffic into a room of the Shore Motor Inn, located at 576 South Service Rd.

A witness saw him run across the highway and called the authorities, Gozaloff said.

"We have a witness who saw him running from the McDonald's and thought, 'Wow he must have robbed the place the way he was running,' " Gozaloff said.

Police went to the motel room into which the witness saw Gernett flee and arrested him on a robbery charge. Gernett still had some of the stolen money in his pocket. He's scheduled to be arraigned on Sunday at First District Court in Central Islip.

Gernett is wanted by the marshals for failing to return to a halfway house in Brooklyn, where he was living after a stint in federal prison, according to Suffolk police. Federal prison records list Gernett's status as "Escape."

Court records show he was sentenced in 2006 to 110 months in prison after a guilty plea to 15 robberies he pulled off over three weeks in September 2004. Among the places he hit are banks, drugstores and 7-Eleven stores across New York City and Long Island, according to the records. An attorney who represented him on that case didn't immediately return a call Saturday night.

As part of his sentence he was ordered to make restitution.

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