Police from three Queens precincts — the 109th, 114th and 115th — are searching for a suspect in a one-man crime spree who has allegedly robbed convenience stores and smoke shops on at least six different occasions beginning in late October.
The first incident occurred in College Point on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 27, when the suspect entered VDK Groceries Inc. located at 14-42 College Point Blvd., went behind the counter and told a worker, “I’m going to kill you, don’t move, I have a gun in my back pocket,” according to the NYPD. The 53-year-old employee stepped away from the counter as the suspect removed $700 in cash from the register before running off westbound on 14th Road.
The same man returned to the same store two days later just before 4 p.m., when he told a different worker, “Don’t move, I can shoot you. I just want the money.” The 31-year-old worker refused and he chased the suspect out of the store empty-handed.
About 20 minutes later, the suspect entered Peter’s Deli, a couple of blocks north at 8-19 College Point Blvd., where he went behind the counter and told a worker, “Don’t move, I’m not going to hurt you. Just give me your money,” according to the NYPD. The 40-year-old employee picked up a scissor to defend himself and chased the suspect out of the store. No property was taken and there were no injuries.
The alleged robber took a couple of weeks off before striking at the other end of the borough on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 15, when he entered N&N Grocery located on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria at around 10:35 p.m., went behind the counter and forcibly grabbed a 63-year-old store worker by his collar. In fear for his safety, the worker remained still while the suspect snatched $2,000 from the cash register before running away northbound on 33rd Street toward 21st Avenue.
Four days later, the man appeared at the Smoke Shop & Grocery at 31-12 21st Ave. in Astoria, where he went behind the counter and took $4,500 from the cash register. When a 60-year-old man working at the store tried to intervene, he was forcibly shoved to the ground as the suspect ran off westbound on 21st Avenue to 32nd Street. The employee was uninjured, police said.
The following day, on Sunday, Nov. 20, at around 9:20 a.m., the suspect struck again in Astoria, entering the Convenience Smoke Shop at Steinway Street and Broadway. Upon entering the store, he told a store employee, “Get out from behind the counter or I will shoot you.” Fearing for his safety, the 59-year-old worker walked away from the counter and the perp proceeded to empty the cash register that contained $7,000 before running off, according to authorities.
The NYPD released surveillance video of the suspect and described him as having a medium complexion and medium build with a mustache, brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, red sweatpants and sneakers, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.