Bohemia knifepoint robbery believed to be 16th in Long Island spree

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Bohemia knifepoint robbery believed to be 16th in Long Island spree
Dray Clark reports

BOHEMIA, Long Island (WABC) -- Police are investigating yet another knifepoint robbery on Long Island, in what is believed to be the 16th in a spree of similar incidents.

Suffolk County police said a man entered the Baskin-Robbins in the Bohemia Shopping Plaza on Sunrise Highway in Bohemia around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The suspect took out a knife and demanded cash. It's not yet known how much money was taken.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said the investigation into the rash of knifepoint robberies, which started in February, is being hampered by poor quality surveillance imaging and the suspect's uncanny ability to commit most of his robberies in less than one minute.

"These are quick crimes. He is, for the most part, in and out," said Sini. "We are doing what we can to enhance patrols around establishments that are fitting his target."

Sini is now urging the owners of commercial establishments to check their video surveillance systems and consider upgrading them, if necessary, though he refused to discuss what, if any, leads are being pursued.

Investigators in Nassau and Suffolk counties said they are sharing leads and resources. Uniformed and undercover officers are assigned to watch stores that might be targeted.

The suspect is becoming more desperate with each robbery and could turn violent, police said. He may be using the robberies to finance a drug habit.

There have been 16 total robberies, six stores in Suffolk County and 10 in Nassau, and in each, the suspect has used a large knife or machete.

One night before the Bohemia robbery, a Subway restaurant in Holbrook was robbed of $300. No one was injured.

The suspect also struck April 15, police said, when he walked into a Subway in North Merrick with a large kitchen knife and demanded money. A worker pressed the panic alarm, and the subject fled on foot with no proceeds.

Two hours later, a TCBY in Lynbrook was targeted by a man carrying a knife. In that case, the thief did not take any money.

The thief has targeted eateries, ice cream shops and other stores. No one has been injured so far in the incidents.

He wears gloves and disguises himself in dark, heavy winter clothing, covering his face. It makes his him difficult to identify, police said.