Police say Salvatore Dellacave is accused of at least seven robberies in Marine Park since March 3.
Surveillance pictures were taken of the suspect last month.
Investigators say he threatened clerks with a gun and demanded Oxycontin, other pain killers and cash.
DellaCave retired from the NYPD in 2008 on a disability pension due to a serious injury sustained when he separated his shoulder in a struggle to apprehend one of a several robbery suspects who had fled to a rooftop.
Detectives are investigating the possibility that DellaCava had become dependent on powerful painkillers since the incident and his subsequent retirement.