WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police believe an armed robbery in Westbury on Monday morning could be linked to more than a dozen other stickups on Long Island.
The latest heist happened around 5 a.m. Monday. A man wearing a ski mask followed an employee into the Babies R Us at 1350 Corporative Drive and displayed a black handgun, police said. He then ordered the two female workers into a back office, tied up one’s hands with metal-type costume handcuffs and ordered her to lie on the floor, cops said.READ MORE: Retired FDNY Firefighter Suffering From 9/11-Related Illness In Need Of Lifesaving Bone Marrow Transplant
“This handgun he pointed at both victims and the suspect ordered the victims back into the back office,” Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, Nassau County Police Department said.
The other employee was then forced to open the safe and put an undetermined amount of cash inside a canvass bag before she, too, was handcuffed and forced to lie on top of the other woman, according to police.
“Right now it appears that he’s looking at stores that do employ females, usually either during the opening or closing phases of that,” LeBrun said.
The suspect is described as black and 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall. He was wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt and dark pants.
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, there have been at least 14 similar robberies at stores since September.READ MORE: Harlem Man Arrested After Allegedly Punching Woman, Striking 5-Year-Old Child
On Dec. 4, an armed gunman entered Beach Bum Tanning on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station and demanded two female employees to go to the back of the store, where they were then tied up, cops said. The suspect then took the money out of the register and fled the scene, according to police.
Last month, a masked man walked into a Pier 1 Imports in Huntington Station, pulled out a gun and forced employees and customers to the back of the store, police said. He then restrained the victims, forced an employee to open the safe and took cash from the registers and valuables from customers before taking off, according to investigators.
Police believe the same man is also responsible for robberies at Destination Maternity in Carle Place, a Rainbow store in Lindenhurst, New York & Company in West Babylon, a Petco in Hicksville and Avenue Clothing stores in both East Farmingdale and Deer Park, among others.
In all of these cases, the tactics are the same, with the suspect using duct tape, rope, wrist ties or handcuffs to bind employees and sometimes shoppers. Cops say in some cases the suspect has disarmed security systems.
“All of our patrol cars, criminal intelligence, rapid response team, they’re all out there closing shift and openings. We’re intensifying patrols all over these establishments,” LeBrun said.
Suffolk County police Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon said last month the department is working with Nassau County police in hopes of finding the suspect.MORE NEWS: New York Judge Suspends Father's Visitation Rights With Daughter Unless He Gets COVID Vaccine Or Subjects To Weekly Testing
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call anonymously to Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS or Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous. Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.