Bandits target Long Island gas stations, businesses

February 9, 2011 3:54:43 PM PST
Police on Long Island are warning businesses tonight about a gang of violent armed robbers.

Investigators believe they may have hit more than a dozen times, brandishing guns and a machete. They fear the robbers could strike again.

Police say the three men may have been terrorizing gas station attendants across Long Island for months.

One of the targets in Uniondale was hit two weeks ago.

"They tell me to give me the f--- money. All the money. I give him money what can I do?" attendant Mithat Biyikorgu said.

It was just after dark when Biyikorgu says the robbers jammed a gun in his ear, held a machete to his gut and demanded cash. And that was just the beginning of their night.

Within an hour, they turned up eight miles away at a Massapequa Getty station, where they brandished that same machete in Manzoor Shah's face.

"They pushed me, you know? Screaming, everything, you know? This was different. This was very dangerous," Shah said.

Since Halloween, police say the brazen trio has targeted as many as 18 gas stations, in at least nine towns in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

These three were caught on camera in December, when they hit a service station in Port Jefferson. The robbery, investigators say, matches the overall pattern.

After waiting for customers to leave, the robbers strike violently and quickly, grabbing cash and driving away before anyone can stop them.

"Who knows you turn around you could have a gun in your face," Tom Lipera said.

Lipera owns the station in Massapequa and actually missed the suspects by just 15 minutes.

He lost over a thousand dollars in the robbery, but what really concerns him the sheer level of violence. He and his employees now afraid for their lives.

"The other day I was here by myself because they all went to lunch. It was the first time in 30 years I was nervous being here by myself. To have that feeling come on you, that wasn't normal for me," he said.

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