Suspect wanted in LI gas station robberies

March 18, 2008 3:36:35 PM PDT
Police on Long Island are hunting for the man behind a string of gas station and convenience store robberies. Long Island reporter Emily Smith has the story.

Police say they now believe one man is behind more than a dozen robberies, all at gunpoint, since November.

Now, they want help identifying the man they say is the suspected ring leader of a group using firearms to get cash from store clerks. The group has net anywhere from $50 to nearly $1,000.

Hicksville Citgo Station employee Kashmir Singh knows the face all too well.

"He gave me $2, then he showed me gun," he said. "He said, 'Give me money.' I said what happened, you my customer. He said 'Give me money.'"

Singh was robbed last Thursday by the man. But of all 14 stations hit, the robbers didn't get a dime from Singh.

Emily: "You took the gun out of his hand?" Singh: "I said get out and I push him...And he fell down and he run."

In this four-month string of robberies, the men start off in masks. But recently, they have gotten more brazen, going in without their faces covered.

The robbers pretend to buy a soda or something small, then return to the register pointing a gun at the worker.

It happened at RiteStop in North Belmore last week. North Bellmore resident Uzar Aslam spoke to the victim right after.

"The guy told me he was terrified and was afraid he might get shot," Aslam said. "He has little kids. Very scary feeling."

So far, the robbers tend to just walk away when customers enter the store. But cops say that could change, giving the public even more of a reason to help them determine who is behind the robberies and get him off the street.

Police never suggest fighting back. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.