Authorities Investigating Possible Link To String Of Gas Station Heists

VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police on Long Island are looking for a brazen knife-wielding thief who held up a Valley Stream candy and card store Tuesday.

Peter Patel — who has been robbed, even pistol-whipped — before resolved to fight back when a hooded man stormed into Evan’s Corner Store demanding cash, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

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“I work for myself to pay the bills,” Patel said. “How he going to take my money? If he take my money … he come back again and do it again.”

In a struggle caught on surveillance video, the robber brandishes a large butcher knife. Patel tries to fight him off and then calls 911 while the thief yanks out the cash register drawer.

After being stabbed in the hand, Patel follows the robber outside.

“I tried to run after him, but he already crossed the main road,” Patel said.

Because Patel gave chase, police have a description of the getaway car: a white Hyundai with yellow New York plates.

The robber also loaded up with Newport cigarettes before running off. That has been the the M.O. in a string of armed Nassau gas station robberies that left one attendant dead.

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As Nassau police investigate, they can’t say yet if Tuesday’s robbery is connected.

They, however, cautioned against fighting an armed robber.

“I would say it’s better to turn over your property,” said Nassau County police Inspector Kenneth Lack. “Don’t fight.”

Rob Williams, who services cash registers for West Islip Business Machines, said nothing seems to stop determined thieves lately.

“I’ve seen (the cash registers) gone, I’ve seen them destroyed, I’ve seen them smashed to pieces,” he said.

Patel was back at his register Wednesday telling longtime customers he feels lucky his injuries aren’t far worse.

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“I’m lucky all the time,” he said.