VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — All they want is to see a movie, but at one theater on Long Island, film fans were being targeted in a series of frightening muggings.
Two armed robberies were committed some 20 minutes apart in the rear parking lot of the Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas in Valley Stream.
Detectives said a group of as many as four young male criminals armed with a knife and a silver handgun first robbed a 14-year-old boy walking back alone at 10:27 p.m. night. They took his cell phone, Metro Card, and bike.
At 10:48 p.m., the suspects approached at 44-year-old woman from behind and stole her shopping bags and wallet.
Neither victim was injured in the robberies.
Several residents said they weren’t surprised by the news.
“At night I don’t even bother to come over here. It’s crazy because everybody’s going crazy out here,” he said. “A lot of people out of work, doing what they got to do I guess, right?”
“It’s probably a gang, and they’re all over, you know – crime needs to stop,” Valley Stream resident Mary Williams told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
The massive parking lot is well-lit at night and fenced, but the robbers were unfazed. In fact, CBS 2 found at least 10 holes in the fence.
Some neighbors complain about a lack of security cameras and too few patrols.
CBS 2 sought comment from the theater’s manager but was turned away. A representative for National Amusements said only that the incident is a police matter.
As the search for suspects intensifies, people who use the lot as a shortcut say they’ll opt for different, and less isolated, routes.
“You can walk all the way around on Sunrise…if you want to be safe,” Rosedale resident Junes Williams said.
The armed robbers, believed to be in their late teens or early twenties, wore dark sweatshirts, with hoods that conceal their faces.
Police said they’re hoping for the public’s help to catch the gang before it strikes again.
Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call the Nassau County Police Department.