By Mark Hallum
Seven businesses on Bell Boulevard in Bayside were hit in a rash of burglaries early Monday morning as the culprits worked their way from south to north and ended at Sterling Pharmacy, where two individuals made off with cough syrup and cash.
Chris Tsatsaronis, the owner at Sterling Pharmacy, said two people came in through back door using an ax and pry bar before taking $1,000 from the office and bottles of codeine-based cough medicine with street value.
“It’s just pretty wild. It’s not 3 o’clock in the morning. They came in here at 7 a.m., broad daylight, and they seemed like they were in no rush while they were in here,” Tsatsaronis said. “They opened every cabinet and every door, but as far as ransacking, no. Considering what could have been –we’re pretty thankful. Luckily nobody was here. At the end of the day, money is money.”
Tsatsaronis said the burglars were inside his business at 38-01 Bell Blvd. for 11 minutes total. The alarm alerted authorities and the 111th Precinct missed them by three to four minutes when the intruders left at exactly 7:11, Tsatsaronis said.
A surveillance image showed two people, both masked with one wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the other wearing a bomber jacket, entering the back of Sterling.
The pharmacist was also grateful that his store had a metal gate between the pharmacy section and the rest of the store, separating the spot where the prescription drugs are kept from the cash registers, where more money and assets could have been written off as a loss as well.
But four other business on the block were also broken into around the same time that morning.
Two masked intruders entered Asian Fusion and Sushi Bar at 38-05 from the back, an employee said, and stole $500 from the drawer before leaving.
A staff member at Massage Envy at 38-03 Bell Blvd. said there was an attempt at around 7 a.m. to enter that business, but it was ultimately unsuccessful.
According to an employee at Oscar Nails at 38-09 Bell Blvd., intruders entered through the basement and left empty-handed.
“We don’t have anything,” she said, pointing to the shelf of nail polish, where the only items of value the store possessed went untouched.
The owner at BB’s Packaging & Shipping at 42-06A Bell Blvd. said two people broke in through the back door of the storefront Sunday. His register was not only broken, but $600 was taken.
“I’ll never leave money here again,” he said.
The owner of Paradise Furniture at 42-02 Bell Blvd. said a break-in occurred at his business, but nothing of significant value was taken.
The NYPD confirmed that nothing was taken when two individuals entered through the rear door of H&R Block 42-04 Bell Blvd Monday around 7 a.m.
One source close to the 111th Precinct’s command said the string of burglaries could be connected to a home invasion involving an elderly couple in Bayside on Nov. 14. Three three suspects forced their way into the dwelling at 214th Place and 29th Avenue, roughing up the two inhabitants before robbing them at gunpoint. They left with $60 cash and $2,000 in jewelry.
NYPD’s press office said no connection has yet been drawn between any of the burglaries in Bayside in the past week.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall