Accused Roosevelt Field robber pleads not guilty

By Tom Momberg

A Little Neck man who is facing several felony charges in connection with an attempted armed robbery and shooting at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City was often left at home without his parents, neighbors said..

Oliver Lee, 21, lives on Douglaston Parkway near the Fairway Shopping Center, where a neighbor said he shares a row house with his mother. The neighbor also said that Lee’s father spends most of the year in China and that he was mostly left home alone.

Lee was arraigned Dec. 23 in Nassau County, where the judge ordered him held on $750,000 bail on charges of robbery, assault and weapons possession, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Nassau County District Attorney.

The young man has since entered a not guilty plea.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said in a news conference last week that Lee had about 10 Oxycodone pills with him when he was apprehended, but there was no evidence to suggest drugs played a role in the attempted robbery.

The next-door neighbor who wished to remain anonymous said he knew little about the family, even though they had lived there for over 20 years. He said Lee never moved away from home and went to community college for a little while, but most of his only experience with the young man was that he often had friends over in the back yard and they were rowdy.

“It took us by surprise that the boy had drugs on him,” one neighbor said. “His mother drives a Lexus, and they all kept to themselves, but I don’t know, the family always seemed very well off.”

Lee allegedly attempted to steal high-end watches from the Rolex boutique inside the Tourneau Jewelry store at the mall, the Nassau authorities said.

A salesperson showed Lee an $18,000 watch, which he took while flashing a black semi-automatic handgun and then attempted to flee when a retired NYPD sergeant and mall security officer interfered, according to witness testimony in the complaint.

The security officer, Ken Krug, grabbed the gun and accidentally fired it in a struggle with Lee, shooting a mall employee who was brought to the hospital but is now in stable condition, police said.

Only one round was fired, because Krug was able to jam the gun during the struggle, Krumpter said. “Kenneth Krug’s actions can only be described as heroic. He engaged in what was a life-and-death struggle,” he said.

The conflict was resolved when two more mall security guards and an NYPD inspector saw what was going on and intervened, according to the complaint.

Police said Lee did not take a personal vehicle to the mall, but were not aware of any accomplice who might have driven him.

He was due back in court Wednesday.

Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomberg@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.